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Comment by deremensis on Happiness Logging: One Year In · 2014-10-12T11:16:31.764Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think part of the problem here, and why writing a qualitative description is a good idea, is that forcing yourself to "quantify" your happiness (an incredibly difficult thing to do even in the best of circumstances) is going to inherently lead to inaccuracies. I'd even consider making the argument that having to quantify your happiness could inadvertently lead to you actually being -less- happy. Imagine it - you feel fine one moment, then, as a result of a ping, you now have to evaluate exactly how you're feeling and your day so far and turn it into a number. What if that number doesn't come out the way you want it to? Now you're unhappy.

That's a lot harder to do with a qualitative observation, where you can quickly spitball how you feel at the immediate moment without in-depth contemplation.

Comment by deremensis on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T23:32:26.763Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hah. Makes sense, if a bit of a heavy endeavor to try to define on your own.

Mind elaborating on your reasoning for not eating meat? I'm not critical of the choice - yet :P - but I am curious!

Comment by deremensis on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T23:25:59.159Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your latter reasons about the author and organization hiding information are great. I'm not trying to imply you don't have any basis upon which to be cautious. I was trying to say, though, that who funded a study or an organization does not make that organization's or study's findings wrong: often times, organizations like IFIC are not in a good position to turn any money down, as long as the money doesn't dictate their message. If you have good reason to think that the money is indeed dictating the message, then by all means, be skeptical.

I would note that there's very good reason for why the website might choose to keep the logos from being openly displayed: having the logos in a prominent position on the site would be very counter productive to the message of the site. If you are advocating healthy choices - and from reading the articles on the website, it does indeed seem like IFIC is advocating healthy food choices - pretty much the last thing you want to do is put the McDonalds or Pepsi logos on your front page, because it creates a confusing message. Companies like Pepsi and McDonalds still gain something from the exchange: they get to say in press releases and on their own websites that they fund health organizations, which is great PR for them, and it provides a foundation for those companies to claim that they do not encourage people to make unhealthy choices.

Unfortunately, with regards to scientific studies, the problem of funding is pretty widespread. I've had a pretty long term interest in ecology, and it's pretty well known that there's just about no way to do agricultural research without having some influence from Monsanto - and it's sometimes dangerous, career-wise, to publish results counter to Monsanto's party line.

Comment by deremensis on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T19:38:07.468Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think dismissing something based solely on who funds it is a good choice. Look at the science and the facts. The fact that someone you don't like funds an organization doesn't mean that that organization is spouting lies, and it doesn't mean the science behind the health advice is wrong. There's a pretty simple reasons for why all of those companies would fund a health organization: it's good PR.

Comment by deremensis on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T09:15:56.461Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Mind elaborating a bit for the curious? What is a "sin-on"? What led to your conclusions with regards to the ethics of eating meat? Seeing as I'm new here, I imagine it likely that there's been a discussion I've missed out on at some point.

Comment by deremensis on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2014-08-19T03:02:11.413Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Hi LW!

I've read LW on and off for quite some time, mostly just whenever I've gotten linked to it and found myself idly browsing. I used to not post very much on forums, just read around, but I decided to sign up for a few and give posting a try. So here I am!

My name is Sean, I'm 20 and I live in Florida. I'm an undergraduate student studying Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Mathematics. I enjoy a lot of things - reading, learning, hiking, discussing, exploring. My interests are pretty wide - I've done a lot of computer programming, but mostly hobby stuff, I do a lot of hiking, a little bit of gardening, I read a lot from a wide variety of topics (though, more often than not, it's either fantasy in my downtime, or research in my work time, lol), and when I have the time I play games and hang out on forums now apparently.

I don't really have an extraordinary story about how I ended up here. I just like to discuss things, and due to my interests, I find myself in places like this a lot.

I like to be in places where I can either learn, or I can help educate. I've had a good bit of experience with teaching and tutoring professionally, and I think one of my strongest qualities is my ability to break things down and explain them to people. I like being in places where I have something relevant to say, and there's something relevant to learn. I think this seems like a great place to be for me. I'm very interested in science, naturally, though my interests especially lie in biology, plant biology, ecology, mathematics, and a bit of computer science. I'm no stranger to philosophy, history, and the humanities - but those are topics where I'm fairly sure I'll be doing a whole lot of learning, and very little sharing, hah.

Anyways, hope to see everyone around on the forums. :)