Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)
Hi! Given how much time I've spent reading this site and its relatives, this post is overdue.
I'm 35, male, British and London-based, with a professional background in IT. I was raised Catholic, but when I was about 12, I had a de-conversion experience while in church. I remember leaving the pew during mass to go to the toilet, then walking back down the aisle during the eucharist, watching the priest moving stuff around the altar. It suddenly struck me as weird that so many people had gathered to watch a man in a funny dress pour stuff from one cup to another. So I identified as atheist or humanist for a long time. I can't remember any incident that made me start to identify as a rationalist, but I've been increasingly interested in evidence, biases and knowledge for over ten years now.
I've been lucky, I think, to have some breadth in my education: I studied Physics & Philosophy as an undergrad, Computer Science as a postgrad, and more recently rounded that off with an MBA. This gives me a handy toolset for approaching new problems, I think. I definitely want to learn more statistics though - it feels like there's a big gap in the arsenal.
There are a few stand-out things I have picked out from LW and OB so far. "Noticing that I am confused", and running toward that feeling rather than away from it, has helped at work. "Dissolving the question" has helped me to clarify some problems, and I'd like to be better at it. The material on how words can mislead has helped me to pay more attention to what people mean in discussion.
Non-rationality stuff: my lust to learn new things runs ahead of my ability to follow through, so I have far too many books! Like many people here, I have akrasia issues. I am interested in what can be done to improve quantity and quality of life, as well as productivity, including fitness and mindfulness meditation. Lastly, I'm taking a long trip to LA, flying on August 1, and I'd like to meet up with the LW community there.