When what is rational is not what is "right" 2012-05-25T21:40:53.666Z


Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-10-08T01:31:00.049Z · LW · GW

Thanks for your replies

If this has been your most common experience with receiving gifts, then no wonder you don't like it.

My issues with gifts are very layered and very deep, from going from middle class to "free-or-reduced-lunch" in middle school and becoming acutely aware of the value of things and what my mom was sacrificing for a new-but-cheap pair of jeans to a general avoidance of having stuff I don't want/use to a history of big gifts that were literally the opposite of "its the thought that counts". My wife and I don't really engage is gift giving, and it is not an area of contention.

Perhaps you would prefer gifts more along the line of some sort of food that you enjoy that you could consume in a short period of time...

I have been making a conscious effort to train people in giving experiences, as they are should to improve happiness vs presents, and don't offend my minimalist/zero-waste ideals. This is going to be a big challenge in the coming years are our 2 and 4 year olds get older.

You probably won't get to it being automatic to recognize and acknowledge someone's intent without spending some time doing it consciously.

I'd would disagree, at least for me I have been able to temporarily create new unconscious reactions. I have a little quirk that I'm paranoid that I'll call my lover the wrong name. When I first started dating my wife, any time I thought about my ex, I would repeat my wife's name in my head, this led to an odd habit of doing the same thing when I caught myself checking out another girl. That habit let to an unconscious reaction that seeing a "hot chick" would make me think of my wife. That has now attenuated away, but I'm sure if I started mentally repeating my wife's name whenever I check out a woman, it would come back.

Comment by beberly37 on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2015-10-02T00:57:10.286Z · LW · GW

It appears that MetaMed has since gone out of business.

Is anyone else attempting to do this? Is there any data on MetaMed's success rate (other than the fact that they went under)?

Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-30T18:36:37.642Z · LW · GW

One exercise you could do is to remember a time you felt loved, and how it felt, and focus on that feeling. Spend a bit of time each day bringing up that feeling into your consciousness. Or, another similar thing to do would be to imagine being surrounded by love, with whatever visuals or feelings feel right to you.

This sounds very similar to journaling about ways my wife showed love each day

There are likely ways to feel more comfortable with receiving compliments or gifts. But, once you are more comfortable with these other expressions of love, would you feel more loved?

My gifts issue is mostly to do with minimalist/environmentalist concerns. I don't want/need stuff and a gift is more stuff wrapped in garbage which will eventually end up as garbage too. I know all gifts can't be described that way, but I guess (which is just hitting as I type this) I have an ugh field around "gifts".

As far compliments go, I have analyzed that quite a bit, and I believe it stems from the fact that, even though I don't give insincere compliments, they generally sound (to me) as insincere on the way out of my mouth and so I don't give them (at least not standard ones). Since they are funny for me to give, they are funny for me to get. (probably another ugh field)

Perhaps there are creative approaches that could result in more time together.

Its a little more complicated than not having enough time. I'm a "relationship guy" {a term I stole from the movie I love you man}, which is to say, while I have friends, friendship is always a lower priority than my relationships, I'd rather sit on the couch next to my wife and watch netfix on the laptop with headphones (so we don't wake the kids) than just about anything else I could do on an evening out on the town with her home with the kids. That's an unrealistic expectation of a lover if they are also not the same way (1). So since service is one of the ways I prefer to give love (and thankful she receives it) as a service to her, she can go out as needed and tend to her friendships, which are important to her. Its seems I would like to make that lower-cost to me.

Are you sure that "feeling unloved" is what is going on? It sounds to me like it's possible that what's happening is that you are feeling frustrated and lonely. Which may not be the same thing.

You could say that I'm feeling unhappy as a result of being lonely as a result of not perceiving enough love.

I think "How can I feel more comfortable with receiving gifts and compliments?" would be an achievable goal. Perhaps that's a good first step. But I'm not sure it will get you what you want.

Maybe it should be "How can I feel positive emotions when people do nice things for me, irrespective of the format/modality of the nice thing, without having to consciously think about how it was a nice thing for someone to do."

It sounds like you've trained yourself to speak the other person's love language, but haven't yet learned how to listen as well as you'd like.

The general premise of the books is to change the way you show love to match the way people receive it. I have not found anyone reference changing their own receiving modes. It seems like an incredible brain hack, that (assuming it works and is easy or not-terribly-difficult and has no side affects) would be wise for people in general to do. The end goal would be having all modes equal and highly sensitive.

1) A bummer since during the typical relationship pre-screening process early in a relationship; hormones, novelty, general insanity, etc make everyone a "relationship guy/gal" and the need for them to go spend time with other people doesn't manifest until after substantial pair-bonding has occurred.

Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-30T01:14:22.045Z · LW · GW

Because of that it has an effect of winning-by-trying that otherwise wouldn't happen I have already noticed this happening; similar to people I know who are avid social media posters who view everything in terms of an instagram post, I have been thinking, "Oh I can journal about that." (at least for today, the persistence of this affect is yet to be seen) And (in as unbiased of a measurement as can be done) this brings a smile to my face they might not normally arise from hand-holding (for example).

having someone else's jargon to talk about I find having jargon very helpful, even if from baseless origins (example: astrology jargon is always helpful for me thinking/talking about personalities)

Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-29T17:28:00.078Z · LW · GW

Typical method is something like a gratitude journal.

Thank you, I have been procrastinating gratitude journaling (for increasing general happiness) for a while, but it seems that journaling about the ways my wife shows her love, excluding quality time, would shift my perception.

Alas, I have considered daycare to put more of her alone-time during periods when I'm unavailable, but money is nearly as scarce as time these days.

Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-29T17:15:31.501Z · LW · GW

Yep, this was also a problem. Thanks.

Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-29T17:13:28.944Z · LW · GW


Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-28T19:09:43.769Z · LW · GW

Do you want to change what makes you feel happy and loved?

Yes. I edited the post for clarity.

Comment by beberly37 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-28T17:24:26.140Z · LW · GW

This is an open question about a brain-hack.

I don't believe the concept of love languages is big on LW, but searching the forum leads to a few mentions of them. It not exactly a data-driven concept, but anecdotally, spending time and acts of service are effective ways to make me feel loved, while gifts and compliments are not (they actually usually make me feel uncomfortable).

The primary concept of the love languages book is to change the way you show love from what you prefer to what your partner prefers (ie if your main language is touch and you are always snuggling with your spouse, but their main language is services, they will feel unloved while you snuggle with them instead of doing the dishes, so you should make an effort to do the dishes instead of snuggling on the couch)

My question is, has anyone experienced or developed (or will develop, prompted by this comment) a method to change my love language priorities so I can feel more loved given current circumstances?

The small back story is; as a result of adding two kids and a real job and an alone-time-hungry-stay-at-home-mom wife time is very limited, which means quality time is at a premium, so I'm feeling unloved. It would be preferable to make more time exist, but that's unlikely, so I would like hack my brain to make me feel loved in other ways. Any ideas?

edited to add italics for clarity

edited 10/7/2015 to add cautionary update: It has been commented that there may be side effect to brain hacking. Two that almost immediately come up and are worth mentioning because they can be in direct opposition to the goal of feeling more loved are:

Nightly listing of all instances of signals of love results in real-time noticing of them (which is a plus, the "I can write about this later!" feeling), but this is coupled with real-time noticing of missed opportunities to show love (Why didn't she make me tea?)

There is a tendency (for me) to compare/notice list lengths from day to day. ie There are only 5 today and 15 yesterday [trombone sound]

Comment by beberly37 on No Safe Defense, Not Even Science · 2015-09-28T16:28:10.319Z · LW · GW

disclaimer This defense of corn ethanol is by no means “publish ready”, it is simply a gathering of data and concepts obtain during my work that has been sufficient enough to change my mind on the merits of a seemingly insane practice. It could use more work, however I don’t really care enough either way to put much more effort into this particular topic.

The primary data driven argument against corn ethanol is that it takes more energy to make than the fuel contains. A statement that is generally true, which I don’t really care about. The whole point of getting away from fossil fuels is to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and slow/stop/reverse climate change. My grizzled, old, super-conservative thermo professor in undergrad often complained about hippies wanting to conserve energy. “Energy is always conserve” ,he would suggest , “what we need to conserve is exergy”. Likewise, I (and I believe the collective “we” should feel the same) don’t care about energy balance, I care about carbon balance.

To find the “best” data on carbon balance of fuels, I turn to the California Air Resources Board, which limits carbon intensities (CI) for fuel sold in California, they have lists of every producer of fuel sold in the state and list the CI’s of the fuels. The unit they use is gCO2e/MJ (grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule). Which can be found here. They also have published pathways for CI, which are documents describing how they arrived at the CI numbers. The one for corn ethanol is here. Reading through the pathway for corn ethanol, the biggest take away is that there is wide variation in production practices that have major impact on the CI of ethanol, for example, the highest CI for corn ethanol listed as of 5/20/15 is 120 (1) gCO2eq/MJ while the lowest is 63(1) gCO2eq/MJ. That’s nearly a factor of 2. For comparison, the CI of standard CA gasoline is 95(1). The difference between the high ethanol CI and the low is primarily the production energy (ie heat for boilers) for the former is coal and the latter is natural gas with some landfill gas and waste wood.
If you look at the breakdown for “average” corn ethanol there are three major sources of carbon emissions, ag chemical production, ethanol production and land use, each being approximately 30 g/MJ. The total number listed for “average” dry mill is 97 (1) gCO2/MJ. I should note that there is a -11g/MJ credit for “co-products”, which is the left-over solids that is used as animal feed call dried distillers grains.

So here is my general belief, making corn ethanol is not inherently bad (insane), however the way we do it is slightly insane. We get a marginally lower CI fuel, which gets blended into gasoline and reduces non-GHG emissions (at least that’s why it’s mandated in CA). However, by shifting the process (which I might outline sometime if folks are interested, but would turn this comment into more of a TLDNR) to one that is more sustainable, and more cost effective, corn ethanol production become perfectly sane.

So why does this mean we should have more corn ethanol? Well more corn ethanol means more corn ethanol plants (building out the infrastructure is costly and time consuming and a large barrier to expansion). Eventually, there will be a revenue incentive to ethanol plants for caring about the CI of their fuel (since in the US, as a whole, it’s only mandated as being non-fossil caring little about GHG’s). California is a good example of this. Gasoline blenders have to buy ethanol because gas in CA has to be 10% ethanol. There is also a limit to the CI of the gas/ethanol blend, which right now is higher than the CI of most ethanol. However, this “low carbon fuel standard” CI drops every year until 2020, where is stays at 89 (1) gCOe/MJ. This means that if the ethanol a company is trying to sell in CA has a CI above 89, the customer would have to purchase carbon credits as well. So companies would then have an incentive to change their production practices to lower their CI, because they could sell their ethanol for higher prices. If/when a US carbon tax (or something akin to the CA Low Carbon Fuel Standard) is adopted, having an existing ethanol infrastructure will make the scale-up and spread of low carbon liquid fuels able to happen much faster.

There are a few other sides to the corn ethanol argument; growing crops for fuel instead of food for example. An argument I find full of holes, since the increase in the corn crop has not been on the same scale as the increase in ethanol production (2) . This is due to the aforementioned animal feed co-product and the fact that before wide spread ethanol production most of the corn grown in the US was used as animal feed (2) . So making ethanol doesn’t displace another crop, only the starch portion of cattle feed. If you have a moral problem with growing a fuel while people in third world countries starve, you should have the same moral problem with growing a crop to raise meat while people starve. Also, if you have a moral problem with displacing food from American mouths, we have an obesity problem, which means we produce and consume too many calories per capita already, we don’t need more corn in our diet. There is also the notion the ethanol is bad for engines, while I believe that the higher anti-knock characteristics of ethanol combined with the higher heat of vaporization means ethanol-only vehicles could have diesel-like compression ratios with otto cycle performance, resulting in a higher efficiency, lower non-GHG emissions vehicle. There are a few other minor facets, but I think they are immaterial, though I did not want to give the impression that I did not consider them.

1) I’ve truncated these numbers as they are reported to the hundredths place.
2) I really need to dig up some good reference for these, because they are based on me looking at old ag reports, which is less than ideal

As for nuclear power, we know that it is a near 100% probability that burning fossil fuels is bad for the planet (and us too) and that can't really be mitigated with existing technology. However, catastrophe from nuclear power has a probability less than 1 and there is technology that can decrease that probability.

edited to fix hyperlinks and to fix unintended text formatting.

Comment by beberly37 on No Safe Defense, Not Even Science · 2015-09-27T02:24:10.742Z · LW · GW

I obviously haven't logged into LessWrong in a long time. Do you still want the answer?

Comment by beberly37 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-28T21:32:30.993Z · LW · GW

I guess I should have said scheme.

Comment by beberly37 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-23T19:34:12.946Z · LW · GW

Consider Jon Adams, as name length increases, average income decreases.

Comment by beberly37 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-23T19:02:50.424Z · LW · GW

This brings to mind the dollar-coin-frequent-flyer-miles scam a few years ago. Where basically, the US treasury started making dollar coins and no one used them. To encourage their circulation, they would sell boxes of coins online with free shipping. Munchkins started buying them with credit cards that gave frequent flier miles, then would deposit the coins at their bank and pay off the credit card. Result: millions of frequent flier miles for free.

The US treasury no longer accepts credit cards for online dollar coin purchases.

Comment by beberly37 on How To Have Things Correctly · 2012-10-16T15:55:32.082Z · LW · GW

I would add artificially extending the wait time to purchase. Some time ago I read a study (that I can no longer find) that correlated a decline in consumer satisfaction with an increase in credit based purchases. We no longer pine at the store window for months saving up to buy X. Which probably has two effects: when you finally get it, it feels much more satisfying (like the first meal after starving for a week is probably the best meal you have ever had), also, in the three months it takes you to save up to buy a super-left-handed-water-redehydrator, you might have the chance to use one at a friend's house and realize you don't really like it.

My top three satisfying purchases (which happen to all be vehicles) were all acquired after protracted waiting periods, one of which was nearly three years.

Comment by beberly37 on Rationality Quotes September 2012 · 2012-09-10T16:08:06.838Z · LW · GW

I think the intermediate value theorem covers this. Meaning if a function has positive and negative values (good and evil) and it is continuous (I would assume a "vague boundary" or "grey area" or "goodness spectrum" to be continuous) then there must be at least one zero value. That zero value is the boundary.

Comment by beberly37 on Nash Equilibria and Schelling Points · 2012-06-29T22:44:03.145Z · LW · GW

If the other pirates were truly rational then they would never have boarded a pirate ship with a pirate who is better at an up-to-5-way fight than them.

When someone asks me how I would get out of a particularly sticky situation, I often fight the urge to glibly respond, by not getting it to said situation.

I digress, if the other pirates were truly rational then they would never let anyone know how good they were at an up-to-X-way fight.

Comment by beberly37 on No Safe Defense, Not Even Science · 2012-06-20T20:55:56.553Z · LW · GW

Welcome to the Earth where ethanol is made from corn and environmentalists oppose nuclear power.

I find this to be a very attention grabbing comparison, so much so that I had to re-read this post 5+ times before I could see the forest through the trees (or tree as the case may be).

The reason these two examples strike me so is that I once held both of the underlying beliefs (ie that corn ethanol is bad and so is nuclear power). While I reversed both of these beliefs many years ago (prior to discovering HPMOR and lesswrong) I now see them as "belief as attire" (tree huggers think nuclear is bad, I'm a tree hugger, therefore I think nuclear is bad) and "password guessing" (why is corn ethanol a bad idea?... thermodynamics....Gold Star!)

After gathering more information about these two "controversies" than can be gathered from Mother Jones or Popular Mechanics, I firmly support nuclear power expansion and think it is quite insane that we don't make more ethanol from corn. I would be happy to support my positions, the former would be rather concise, the later would be considerably longer, so I'll save it until asked.

Perhaps this would have been less distracting:

Welcome to the Earth where 46% of Americans believe in creationist origins of humans and only 15% believe in evolutionary origins of humans.

Comment by beberly37 on Review: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids · 2012-06-01T19:33:41.693Z · LW · GW

This is entirely anecdotal, however I once was entirely against the idea of having children. I had many justifications; personal, selfish, environmental, social, etc. Though, in hindsight, I probably just didn't want kids.

Right now all I want to do is go home and lay on the floor with my babbling, drooling, high maintenance alarm clock/poop machine. I can't say that meeting my wife made me instantly want kids because we knew each other for a few years before dating, but at some point in time I went from not wanting kids to wanting kids. The conscious choice to have children happened slightly more than 18 months ago, our daughter in now 9 months old. And I should emphasis it was a conscious choice.

I would strongly discourage having children unless you really want them, the negatives will be magnified and the positives will be reduced. For example, going to work after a week of only sleeping 2 hours a night is a lot easier if you can look forward to a happy, two-toothed smile when you get home. If the presence of said smile holds no intrinsic value, then you are in for a long day at work. Likewise, the shear enjoyment of seeing your baby crawl for the first time is soiled if it is accompanied by, "Oh great now we have to baby-proof the lower 3' of the house".

I will grant that I have an incredibly small about of data from a very narrow range of the existence that is parenthood.

Comment by beberly37 on Should I be afraid of GMOs? · 2012-05-29T20:52:51.261Z · LW · GW

I was attempting to find an example of a generally accepted case of "too risky". My baby just had some shots, so vaccines were on my mind. I utterly failed to to come up with a number for the probability of contracting polio if you live in the US and have not been immunized against it. There hasn't been a case of someone in the US getting polio naturally in 30 years, the hundred or so cases (according to the CDC) in the last 30 years have all been from the live vaccine (which isn't given anymore in the US) or from contact with someone that had been given the live vaccine in another country recently. All that being said, it is generally considered a very poor decision to not give a child a vaccine for a disease that hasn't happened in thirty years, only shows symptoms in 5% of the cases and only has permanent damage in 1% of cases. This incredibly small risk is too high, a consensus with which I agree.

Why is one immeasurably small risk too high, but one as of yet to be determine risk not? I view the safety of GMO food similar to a drug in the second stage of human trials, as mentioned, my choice is to opt out of that trial.

The OP asked should they be afraid. Probably not, but like wise, they should not be 100% comforted. As much as I love science and new technology, my error-on-the-side-of-caution anchor beats my yeah-science! anchor.

Comment by beberly37 on When what is rational is not what is "right" · 2012-05-28T01:43:08.290Z · LW · GW

The factory radio in my vehicle (which is almost as old as me) does not have the capacity to play a podcast and I do not own an mp3 player. Also, the public radio station plays programming which is produced by National Public Radio during my commute (I'm not listening to Wayne's World Radio or the like). This programming is, in my experience, fairly neutral news, which varies from super serious, important news to fascinating fluff pieces.
I find that when left to my own devices for news, I have something akin to confirmation bias, where I only pick news that is really important and interesting to me, which tends to be a fairly narrow picture of the world (mostly science and tech news). NPR's news tends to push my boundaries enough that I get a better picture of what is happening in the world. So if I were to download podcasts of NPR news programming, I would the be getting the same service also without paying. I guess I could contribute directly to NPR instead of local station (which in turn pays NPR for the programming) but if everyone did that, there would be not local stations, which would possibly mean less funding for NPR, which would negatively impact their programming, which I find valuable. It is really the same scenario on a bigger scale.

Comment by beberly37 on When what is rational is not what is "right" · 2012-05-28T01:28:59.503Z · LW · GW

I felt a certain level of guilt for not donating to public radio, which was alleviated by donating. The level of guilt is somewhere between what I imagine is the guilt for shoplifting and the guilt for not holding a door open for an elderly lady carrying a lot of packages.

Comment by beberly37 on When what is rational is not what is "right" · 2012-05-27T04:01:30.508Z · LW · GW

I would define right in this instance as what is required by moral/ethical/etiquette standards. However what is rational is the correct thing to do (assuming we are all on the same page that the rational choice is the correct choice).

Comment by beberly37 on When what is rational is not what is "right" · 2012-05-27T00:22:33.150Z · LW · GW

It is more like a very poorly worded version of the question, "What have I missed?", that manifested as me attempting to sound wise while in reality sounding foolish.

Comment by beberly37 on When what is rational is not what is "right" · 2012-05-25T23:03:59.879Z · LW · GW

Sorry for the ethnocentricity of my post. In the US, most radio stations are private/corporate entities funded by advertising, public radio stations are usually not-for-profit and do not have ads. If you believe their numbers between 50 and 90% of the funding comes from "members", people who donate to the station (the fraction depends on the station). Several times a year they do a pledge drive. For a week or two, they interrupt the usual programming with 5-10 minute pledge breaks, when the radio staff tell you how much they need to raise and what gifts they will give you for donating. Traditionally they have multiple people waiting by phones to take callers who pay over the phone or arrange a monthly payment plan (pledging). Again if you believe their numbers, only 10% of listeners actually pony up and become members. Hope that clears it up.

Comment by beberly37 on Shaving: Less Long · 2012-05-25T19:50:43.223Z · LW · GW

I don't like shaving almost as much as I dislike having a beard. I have a fairly soft, slow growing beard. The result is that I only shave when I absolutely can't stand it any longer. This is not possible with an electric (at least it hurts too much to bother, so I would have to shave everyday). Thankfully I have no pressure from work or social life to be clean shaven, otherwise I would have to revisit electric. This could be quantified as 2 minutes with an electric everyday (60.8 hr/yr) or 8-10 minutes every 5-7 days (~45hr/yr).

Comment by beberly37 on To like each other, sing and dance in synchrony · 2012-05-25T19:23:41.966Z · LW · GW

Expected to touch strangers, probably. But it is not uncommon for couples to go dancing and not dance with anyone else (if my wife and I had our way, thats probably what we would do). Though in the application of a lesson, not practicing with other people makes it more difficult to learn, however I have been to lessons where half the room rotates partners and the other half does not. However know that "not comfortable touching strangers" is a good reason to say "no".

In practice, if you went dancing with a friend (who presumably would not only dance with you) you can always say, "I'm sitting out this song" if asked and if they "say what about the next?", you can say "I've already said I would dance the next one with my friend."(probably not really a lie if you plan on only dancing with them) The vast majority of the dancers that I know are really nice and understanding, the vast majority of the minor that are not are "superstars", at least in their mind, and would not ask a newbie in a million songs, so the fraction of people who would ask a newbie to dance that are not nice and understanding is really small.

Besides, if you are new, everyone will know(it is usually pretty obvious) and not expect you to know the taboo. It is more of a taboo of saying "no" because "you are not good enough to dance with me". And it is definitely not an announced policy, just part of the culture you absorb via osmosis that I have discuss a handful of times with (for lack of a better term) "high-level" members of the scene.

As for smarmy encouragement: smarmy is subjective but there will be coddling in any scene that values new comers, I say soak it up, because when you get good enough to not need it anymore, it goes away.

A solution? Go out dancing, after a short period of time it will all be moot. Either you like dancing enough to touch strangers, they will quickly cease to be strangers, or you will be known as the couple that doesn't dance with anyone else (those do exist) and no one will ask you anymore. Or I guess you could also find out that you don't like dancing, in which case it is also moot.

Admittedly, I am biased on the subject of the merits of dancing, but I encourage almost everyone to get into it, I know many people whose lives were changed for the better by dancing and none that I can says whose lives were destroyed by it.

Comment by beberly37 on Should I be afraid of GMOs? · 2012-05-25T18:45:32.424Z · LW · GW

I can see why road maintenance hassle doesn't outweigh potential benefits, but what about a gene for producing a pesticide. Resistance to herbicide doesn't present an obvious fitness benefit to a wild hybrid, but not being eaten by bugs certainly does. How would said pesticide affect bee populations if all the wild relatives of a given GMO crop now produced its own pesticide?

Admitting that I am at best a fledgling rationalist, I think its unreasonable to believe that GMOs are safe. Why does one believe that they are? Because researchers paid by or funded by the company that own the products have yet to find that they are unsafe. I'm not suggesting a big conspiracy or anything, but cognitive biases are not trivial to overcome. But the belief that they are inherently safe because all we did was move some genes around is naive considering the current knowledge base of DNA.

How about looking at it this way, P(not eating GMO food is bad for me)=0, P(eating GMO food is bad for me)>=0. GMO offers me (personally) no utility (U=0)so is U

=0 )?

Do I think we should continue GMO research, yes. Do I think we should have vast acres of GMO crops, no. (but you can't always get what you want) Should we make them illegal, no. Should they be labeled, yes.

Comment by beberly37 on To like each other, sing and dance in synchrony · 2012-05-25T16:55:15.646Z · LW · GW

I should state that none of this is based on per reviewed research, just personal experience and practices learned from others with more experience than myself, which apparently have merit.

I should also state that some of these may be specific to partner dancing activities (I do Lindy Hop, which is a type of swing dance)

There are, IMO, two incredibly important aspects of a good dance activity: 1) Whoever is teaching the step/lesson/whatever avoids, at all cost, adopting an "I'm a dance teacher" air. How precisely to do this is probably specific to individual personalities. 2) Rule number 1 is to have fun. That has to be the primary and perhaps sole purpose for dancing. In the right crowd I often word it as "If you are not having fun, then you are doing it wrong." Much more laughs and smiles come from non-catastrophic errors than from business as usual "doing it right".

Some other practices for making people comfortable dancing:

-If there is an existing core of experienced dancers, have it be part of the culture to engage newcomers (ie ask new, inexperienced people to dance. I'm not sure what this would look like for line type dances) -The converse, build a culture where newcomers will self-engage (ie ask experienced people to dance). This can be done by saying "feel free to ask anyone to dance" as often as possible and by having a culture where saying "no" without good reason is taboo. It is general etiquette in my circle that if you say no to someone, you are either injured, tired, need a drink/breather, or don't like this song, as such if your favorite partner comes up and asks you to dance right after you said no to someone else, you are still injured, tired, need a drink, etc and should sit out the song. -When giving a lesson or teaching the step, avoid "[Random Learner], you are doing this wrong" instead, say "I am seeing a few people doing this wrong." Even though I (and others like me) like it when given direct correction, I don't have issues with feeling comfortable in these situation, but people who get embarrassed easily will be by "Hey you shy girl blushing, you the one blushing even more now, don't do it that way." -As with any teaching/learning, everyone is different. Some like to count, some need music, music makes it harder for some, counting confuses some, some don't need to see the move from multiple angles, some will never get it without seeing it from multiple angles, some will get confused if they see it multiple angles. You have to constantly update your model of the group and encourage feedback.

I hope this is helpful, I'll update if I think of anything else useful.

Comment by beberly37 on To like each other, sing and dance in synchrony · 2012-05-24T15:34:46.259Z · LW · GW

From a purely practical side, fostering an environment in which people who are not comfortable dancing will feel comfortable is not an easy thing to do, especially for one who has no experience fostering such an environment.

I base this on eight years of personal experience as an active member in a dance community. It is hard enough to make people who showed up to dance feel comfortable let alone people who showed up to discuss Bayes' Theorem :)

Though as someone who went social dancing up to 5 times a week and a least once a week for the better part of a decade, I could get behind a LW+dancing event.

Comment by beberly37 on Nonmindkilling open questions · 2012-05-23T20:49:17.068Z · LW · GW

"Is the fetus growing in [pregnant woman you both know]'s uterus a boy or a girl." There is a tremendous amount of people who think that order of birth, shape of belly, pulse on pinky, etc can be used to predict the baby's sex [anecdotally these results, combined with peoples' guesses come to 50/50, go figure!] , which if enough of them agreed could arguably be used to marginally move away from the base of 51/49. This probability could be updated after an ultrasound, but still not move to 100% as there are well documented error rates associated with sexing a baby via ultrasound. Even more fun, these error rates are result specific, (i can't remember the numbers, they are buried in a baby book) a "boy" result is wrong less often than a "girl" result, and I seem to remember there is user error involved (some technicians are wrong less often than others). If a blood test is done on a fetus it could be used to further update the probability. The final test, inspection upon birth, which will update the probability again, will not quite get to 100% unless tests were done to rule out a rare abnormality (ie apparently a boy, but has an ovary)

Comment by beberly37 on Should I be afraid of GMOs? · 2012-05-23T18:48:17.996Z · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure that this worry is more about passing herbicide resistance to weeds, for example, canola and mustard are closely related, wild mustard can be viewed as a weed. This was the first result in a google search for "canola mustard hybrid". If, for example, they handle highway medians by spraying herbicide, and all of the sudden, the wild mustard can thrive in round-up, then they would have to use a more costly method for median maintenance.

My biggest objection to GMO's and the reason I strongly avoid them, is that I don't feel there has been enough research into the long term affects of eating them, ie what happens to a human who eats GMO corn three times a day for 50 years and I am not getting paid to participate in the study. If I was starving and GMO corn was the only thing to eat, then yeah I'm down, but I'm not, so I'll pass.

Comment by beberly37 on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-05-23T16:29:13.187Z · LW · GW

Hello all, it seems like it is a common enough occurrence that it no longer seem embarrassing, but I too found LW via HPMOR, which was referred to me by a friend; my eyes and neck hurt for at least a week after spending far too much time reading from a laptop. I have a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering, I have spent some time as a researcher, a high school teacher and I am currently being an actual engineer at a biodiesel plant.

Growing up everyone told me I was going to become an engineer (I was one of those kids that took apart my toys to see how they worked or try to make them better). I have been cursed, as I am sure is common at LW, that most things (at least mentally tasking things) I try are pretty easy, so I have learned not to work all that hard at anything: high school, undergrad, grad school, work. One of the best parts about LW is that this is really hard stuff, especial for one who is accustom to not having to put forth much mental effort. Yesterday I failed Wason's selection task miserably (thank you, LW, for striking me!) and it took me nearly a year of half-hearted, sporatic readings of Bayes's Theorem to finally be able to say I have moved up on Bloom's Taxonomy to at least understanding (there was a huge lack of statistics in my curricula).

After a year of lurking I decided to start posting because there are so many questions I have that I think should be asked or ideas about which I would love to hear the input from higher level rationalists and this is the obvious starting place.