Bragging Thread, July 2014

post by diegocaleiro · 2014-07-14T03:22:21.404Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 47 comments

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to comment on this thread explaining the most awesome thing you've done this since June 1st. You may be as blatantly proud of yourself as you feel. You may unabashedly consider yourself the coolest freaking person ever because of that awesome thing you're dying to tell everyone about. This is the place to do just that.

Remember, however, that this isn't any kind of progress thread. Nor is it any kind of proposal thread. This thread is solely for people to talk about the awesome things they have done. Not "will do". Not "are working on". Have already done. This is to cultivate an environment of object level productivity rather than meta-productivity methods.

So, what's the coolest thing you've done this month?


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Shri · 2014-07-14T10:19:17.666Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I used ideas I learned here to resolve a problem that I've failed at for over 10 years.

I was in an volatile arguement. My base rate of regreting arguements with this person is >90% over my entire adult life. I was really confident, perhaps even arrogant in hindsight. Then I remembered to think of our disagreement as travelers comparing independatly composed maps against a common territory. I proceded to draw a causailty DAG representing my own thinking. He added some nodes and edges I hadn't considered, but made sense after listening to him.

I felt the confidence of my position slipping away in my mind as the murkiness of uncertainty appeared. We could both easily be right, but the deciding information was out of reach for the time being. Our emotional arousal deflated. He felt good, reminded of his career as an engineer using fishbone diagrams.

It was the most pleasant ending I can remember compared to how our intense disagreements of utterly trival matters usually end: anger, bitterness, despondency, regret. I used a thinking tool, and changed minds, including my own, in a way I didn't anticipate. It felt strange, but good.

Not awesome by most cultural standards, but I think this is the only place where a simple story of changing my mind might be worth sharing.

comment by eggman · 2014-07-14T15:58:15.531Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I recently started my career as an effective altruist earning to give by making my first big splash with a $1000 USD unrestricted donation to Givewell last month.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2014-07-14T03:35:01.743Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Usually I brag about the great things. This time, I'll brag about the small daily things.

I've spent time every day remembering how cool and nice is the place where I'm living, observing the view, the neighbours and of course, the Spa. I've send thank you notes to two of the world's foremost primatologists. I've made a girl laugh uninterruptedly for the entire extension of a game in which Brazil lost to Holland. And she made me. I hauled a couch for a friend into his apartment. I sponsored the caffeine industry a lot. Told three people how beautiful their hair was. Entertained a young couple passing by SF for an afternoon for no particular reason, only to discover they were high, and would have been equally entertained by a goose or a mosquito for that matter.

comment by Larks · 2014-07-14T23:12:20.530Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but:

  • I asked for a payrise at work!

Finally overcame the mental excuse reel. Manager seemed supportive, but we have yet to see what will come of it.

Edit: formatting

Replies from: Joshua_Blaine
comment by Joshua_Blaine · 2014-07-16T23:00:36.797Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Here's something that might net you successes of a similar kind, rejection therapy. It's much less official than it might immediately sound, as it's an entirely self imposed challenge. You may find yourself asking for and getting a lot more than you realized you could, as well as becoming more comfortable doing it.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-07-14T12:46:16.756Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Became director of a library.
Replies from: sediment
comment by sediment · 2014-07-14T14:33:34.786Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A position with great pedigree: Borges, Larkin.... Just hope you don't go blind.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2014-07-15T23:24:54.105Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or get turned into an orangutan.

comment by DanielLC · 2014-07-14T05:19:27.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I finally finished a computer program I'm writing for my Master's project. Granted, it's the bare minimum for what I'll call complete, but it's good enough for me to leave it until I finish the paperwork, and just finish if I have time left.

The program is designed to draw differential geometry from the inside. I modified it for raytracing, and produced these two videos:

The camera moves through a wormhole while spinning around

The camera moves in an infinite loop between two wormholes

Replies from: tgb
comment by tgb · 2014-07-14T16:05:41.895Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neat! Can you give a really short description of why this is useful or of the most interesting techincal aspects?

Actually, can you just tell me what's going on in the second movie where the grid appears to stop growing closer?

Replies from: DanielLC
comment by DanielLC · 2014-07-14T17:16:02.650Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neat! Can you give a really short description of why this is useful or of the most interesting techincal aspects?

I figure it would make an awesome video-game. Given that it took 30 seconds to render each frame, that's not going to happen as a raytracer. I might be able to get it to work in real time if I run it using that thing where you draw triangles, or better yet, use it to find a few guide points and then just warp a 3d model.

It also might be good for getting people to understand differential geometry or something.

Actually, can you just tell me what's going on in the second movie where the grid appears to stop growing closer?

It's a sky sphere. It's infinitely far away. When you're in part of space that's Euclidean and you're not rotating, it doesn't move. The only reason that it moves at all in the second video is because of how warped space is.

I should add that when running it in a ray-tracer it can only draw sky-spheres, but when running it normally it can only draw triangles. I'm considering making it so one of those can do both.

comment by ephion · 2014-07-14T13:14:45.254Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Man! Last month I posted that I had learned some HTML/CSS/JS and made a really basic website. This month, I learned that I made an A in my CS101 class, am currently making an A in my CS102 class, and picked up a part time internship doing web/mobile (phonegap) development for a startup in my town. I've also started designing a website I want to make, and have built a dev VM with Ruby on Rails built in and configured.

I've got all my financial stuff together to start going back to school full time in the spring, and I'll graduate with my BS Computer Science in Spring 2016.

I've used Pomodoro time management to balance my two partners, full time job, school, internship, and powerlifting.

I also realized that I really should go to a psychiatrist about potentially having bipolar II, as this is a pretty classic hypomanic phase immediately following a depressive phase.

Replies from: eggman
comment by eggman · 2014-07-14T15:56:38.502Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Uh, I've trawled through Wikipedia for the causes, and symptoms, of mental illnesses, and, according to my doctors (general practitioner, and psychiatrist), I've been good at identifying what I'm experiencing before I've gone to see them about it. The default case is that patients just go to the doctor, report their symptoms, answer questions about their lifestyle lately, and the doctors take care of diagnoses, and/or assigning treatment. I choose to believe that I have such clarity about my own mental processes because my doctors tell me how impressed they are when I come to them seeming to already know what I'm experiencing. I don't know why this is, but my lazy hypothesis is chalking it up to me being smart (people I know tell me this more than I would expect), and that I've become more self-reflective after having attended a CFAR workshop.

Of course, both my doctors, and I, could be prone to confirmation bias, which would be a scary result. Anyway, I've had a similar experience of observing my own behavior, realizing it's abnormal, and being proactive about seeking medical attention. Still, for everyone, diagnosing yourself by trawling Wikipedia, or WebMD, seems a classic example of an exercise prone to confirmation bias (e.g., experiencing something like medical student's disease). This post is a signal that I've qualified my concerns through past experience, and that I encourage you to both seek out a psychiatrist, as I don't expect that to result in a false negative diagnosis, and also to still be careful as you think about this stuff.

Replies from: ephion, David_Gerard
comment by ephion · 2014-07-14T16:54:49.065Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really appreciate the words of caution. I don't plan on priming the doctor about what I think I have (consciously), and instead just describe my family history and symptoms. Knowing about the medical student's disease and difficulty of self-diagnosis leads me to weight the opinion of an expert higher than my own opinion.

comment by David_Gerard · 2014-07-14T17:00:15.060Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I choose to believe that I have such clarity about my own mental processes because my doctors tell me how impressed they are when I come to them seeming to already know what I'm experiencing. I don't know why this is, but my lazy hypothesis is chalking it up to me being smart (people I know tell me this more than I would expect), and that I've become more self-reflective after having attended a CFAR workshop.

Yeah. wide-open to confirmation bias - I would be unsurprised if you were refraining from mentioning some things that are problems but you don't have answers for.

Suggestion: talk to a friend who knows you really well, get them to write down some things that are observable life problems (symptoms, not diagnoses) and make sure you bring these up properly during the appointment.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-07-16T20:24:30.223Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Today I received the prize payment for an alternate-history novel I wrote last year.

Replies from: bbleeker
comment by bbleeker · 2014-07-17T14:18:22.379Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What is it called? I love alternate history.

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-07-17T15:04:51.046Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Moorflower, but I've not found a publisher yet. It's written originally in Spanish. It depicts a world where the Mayflower was captured by pirates and the Plymouth colony was never founded.

Replies from: bbleeker
comment by bbleeker · 2014-07-19T13:28:48.542Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is it published in Spanish? I can read that too.

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-07-20T03:15:57.237Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sadly, no. It was a contest, and publication was not part of the deal. But I can email it to you.

Replies from: bbleeker
comment by bbleeker · 2014-07-20T07:48:24.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you, I'd love that! I'll PM you my email address.

comment by Drahflow · 2014-07-14T17:38:50.721Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I usually take the minutes of the German Pirate Party assemblies. It is non-trivial to transcribe two days of speach alone (and I don't know steno). A better solution is a collaborative editor and multiple people typing while listening to the audio with increasing delay, i.e. one person gets life audio, the next one 20 seconds delay, etc... There is EtherPad, but the web client cannot really handle the 250kB files a full day transcript needs, also two of the persons interested in taking minutes (me included) strongly prefer VIm over a glorified textfield.

Hence: On the 23rd of June I downloaded the VIm source and started implementing collaborative editing. On the 28th and 29th three people used it for hours without major problems (except I initially started the server in a gdb to get a backtrace in case of a crash and the gdb unhelpfully stopped it on the first SIGPIPE - but that was not the fault of my software).

To give you an idea of the complexity of collaborative editing, let me quote Joseph Gentle from "I am an ex Google Wave engineer. Wave took 2 years to write and if we rewrote it today, it would take almost as long to write a second time." It took me 5 days (and I had a full-day meeting on one of them) to deliver >80% of the goodness. Alone.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2014-07-16T05:23:21.730Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It took me 5 days (and I had a full-day meeting on one of them) to deliver >80% of the goodness. Alone. you should have almost no confidence in your implementation, or accept that you're dealing with an orders-of-mangnitude easier version of the problem than Google is.

Replies from: Pfft
comment by Pfft · 2014-07-17T18:47:02.853Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I understood the point to be the latter. Like, the usual rule of thumb is that 20% of the effort produces 80% of the value, and Drahflow is claiming that in this instance 0.0068% of the effort produced 80% of the value. (Assuming that Google Wave was developed by a hundred-person team).

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2014-07-18T22:49:22.644Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wave was certainly not developed by a hundred-person team. That article says that the "enabling technologies" behind Wave, including GWT and Google's XMPP fork, comprise a hundred-person team, which I could maybe believe between three or four of Google's key infrastructure projects at the time.

I think in Wave's case, as an innovative technology that had no clear predecessor, most of the two years is probably design, not development. Wave missed its mark, so none of that design is really re-usable.

comment by Alsadius · 2014-07-15T23:26:10.954Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Got a gym membership and actually started going, if less often than I'd like(about 1x/week, which is at least not shameful)

  • Managed to sit through a week of really annoying training for work without saying anything that'd be likely to land me in trouble with the company. Trust me, this is an accomplishment.

comment by David_Gerard · 2014-07-14T11:24:07.254Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Worked out how the hell to use a fast limiter. Now my home musical productions can be as brick-wall limited and ear-bashing as the stuff I'm trying to imitate!

(Seriously, this is a major advance in getting my stuff usable by others. In technoish dance music, LOUDNESS WARS really aren't optional. This is unfortunate but unavoidable.)

Also discovered the loved one can sing in shouty German very well indeed - and is, after having put up with years of me noodling at this stuff, actually excited by the prospect of singing on top of it. The shouty German version of "Planet Rock" should be an absolute corker. DAC top ten here we come! [citation needed]

Replies from: ephion, DanielLC, sediment
comment by ephion · 2014-07-14T13:05:34.281Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nice. Mastering can be a nightmare, and getting the loudness up without ruining quality is one of the hardest parts of releasing pro sounding music.

Replies from: David_Gerard
comment by David_Gerard · 2014-07-14T16:49:36.024Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Apparently turning techno into an ear-bashing brick wall with that particular distortion (I'm not quite sure what it is ... it's flattening the amplitude of the whole, so that'd be an AM spectrum of a few Hz around everything) that sounds tolerable on headphones and in clubs but shitty on speakers at normal volume doesn't constitute "ruining quality". [themoreyouknow.gif]

But yes, it's the One Weird Trick that made a bunch of stuff sound much more like I actually wanted it to. It's a bit better applied per-instrument (especially bass, or percussion as a group) than to the whole - then it's just another effect.

Replies from: ephion
comment by ephion · 2014-07-14T17:08:51.508Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting! I have no experience with techno, but my genre of specialty (metal) is also subject to the loudness war. Generally I've found that clipping effects (the free gclip vst is great for this) is good for reducing the imperceptible attack on drums, and some side chain compression to duck the bass when the kick hits are most of what's necessary to be able to apply heavy compression and volume increasing without sacrificing too much quality.

comment by DanielLC · 2014-07-15T04:31:39.243Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've wondered if it would be possibly to end the loudness war by specifying everything with floating point values. If you can trivially make your music a trillion times louder, there'd be no point.

At the very least, until people get to the upper edge of it, it would mean that regardless of how loud it's "supposed to be", you can turn it down so it doesn't clip.

Replies from: RichardKennaway, David_Gerard, None
comment by RichardKennaway · 2014-07-15T12:03:00.787Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"You see, most blokes will be playing at 1e50. You’re on 1e50, all the way up, all the way up...Where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do, is if we need that extra push over the cliff...infinity. Infinitely louder."

comment by David_Gerard · 2014-07-15T13:21:24.134Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The standard is still 16/44, because that can hold the entire hearing range of any human ever tested (see also videos), though the trouble is that's different from what people actually use it to hold. And it's what's on CDs and what most compressed files expand to.

Probably the most likely way out of the loudness wars will be Apple telling engineers not to do that, because LOUDNESS WARS mixes will be made quieter in iTunes. Cross fingers.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-07-15T08:28:18.172Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, that would be great, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

comment by sediment · 2014-07-14T14:33:29.075Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The shouty German version of "Planet Rock" should be an absolute corker.

Agreed. Great idea. Hope it works out.

Replies from: David_Gerard
comment by David_Gerard · 2014-07-14T17:01:42.367Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


(I don't care if that's ungrammatical.)

I've got a really very good version of "Trans-Europe Express", if only I can record and autotune (hard computer-sounding autotune) the vocals how I'm thinking.

Now of course we need originals up to the same standard ...

Replies from: sediment
comment by sediment · 2014-07-14T17:22:48.372Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, I'm finding this weirdly coincidental: I was listening to DAF for the first time this week and it really made me want to do a project with electronics by me and shouty German vocals by a female friend of mine who happens to be fluent in shouty German. It even crossed my mind to do some heavy/weirded out versions of Kraftwerk songs.

Replies from: David_Gerard
comment by David_Gerard · 2014-07-14T18:10:52.533Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yep the complete works of DAF and also renovated the Wikipedia articles :-D

comment by JQuinton · 2014-07-14T17:00:08.987Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I made a heavy metal cover of the final boss' theme from the arcade version of Strider

I've submitted it to the OCRemix webpage so hopefully it will get accepted sometime this... year?

I was also noodling around with Java and made a Bayes Theorem ex jar with neat little slidy-bars.

I've also started a Master's program in Compsci.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2014-07-14T20:34:36.672Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've alrady mentioned this in the open thread, but I would still like to brag a little more about it. If you upvoted me there, don't do it again here.

This is the outline of a conversation that took part no fewer than 14 times on the first Friday of this month, between me and a number of close friends.

"Life is like an RPG. Often, a wise, kind, and and deeply important character (hand gesture to myself) gives a quest item to a lowly, unsuspecting, otherwise plain character (hand gesture to friend). As a result of this, this young character goes on to be a great hero in an important quest.

Now, here with me today, I have a quest item.

For you.

But I can only give it to you if you shake on the following oath; that, once you have finished with this item, when you have taken what you require from it, that then, you too shall find someone for whom this will be of great utility, and pass it along. They must also shake on this oath."

"I will."

Handshake occurs.

"Here is your physical copy of the first 16 and a half chapters of 'Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality'."

Replies from: shminux
comment by shminux · 2014-07-14T21:06:45.763Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Often, a wise, kind, and and deeply important character (hand gesture to myself)

How many of them told you that you are full of it?

Replies from: Benito, DanielLC
comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2014-07-14T22:33:48.395Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They're close friends, they understood the humour, and smiled at that point.

comment by DanielLC · 2014-07-15T04:37:09.242Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Complementing one's self is considered humorous. So is insulting one's self. So, I guess you just shouldn't say neutral things about yourself.

Replies from: Benito
comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2014-07-23T22:30:28.343Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Erhem. Reversed intelligence is not stupidity.

comment by deschutron · 2014-07-23T03:56:03.708Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Created a Sound-Cloud account and shared some music I made with my reversible spectrogram program on it. Got feedback from budding musician work colleagues and checked out their music. So I encouraged them and they encouraged me. And I have experience publishing on one of those social network publishing sites. And when I die, something of me will be available for others to see.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-07-14T09:30:27.845Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I got into Higher School Of Economics (top Russian University) for double degree programme with University of London/London School of Economics.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-07-14T04:05:40.408Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I got into Higher School Of Economics (top Russian university).

The funny thing is, I feel bad about it, because it feels like it's not something I've done, but my genes and parents having enough money to afford it. #firstworldproblems