Rising rents and appropriate responses 2021-04-18T14:05:35.485Z
What are all these children doing in my ponds? 2021-04-03T20:16:58.994Z
Bureaucracy is a world of magic 2021-03-29T12:41:24.405Z
Buying a house and making friends in unexpected places 2021-03-28T14:35:18.319Z
Making friends 2021-03-13T19:23:29.018Z
dominicq's Shortform 2021-02-01T18:40:34.023Z
Taking money seriously 2021-01-28T12:53:33.043Z
Up close and personal with the world 2020-09-25T06:52:28.302Z
Short (2.5 min) intro to Effective Altruism for busy people 2020-07-06T19:53:46.140Z


Comment by dominicq on Rising rents and appropriate responses · 2021-04-19T14:11:44.286Z · LW · GW

In my experience (Zagreb), you have this same organic development which leads to very crowded buildings with drastically different styles (like massive apartment buildings "boxing in" houses), very little pedestrian space, few parks and green areas... Some pretty messy and inhospitable neighborhoods.

Also some really good ones, so I'm wondering if the main factor is "some person in charge of a building wants to ensure that it fits the neighborhood".

Comment by dominicq on Rationalism before the Sequences · 2021-04-18T08:59:10.208Z · LW · GW

For me, probably 2. I read "How to become a hacker" several years ago and it shaped many of my career-related choices. The writing/reasoning style is very similar to the ratsphere, so I was not too surprised that I would also find you here.

Comment by dominicq on What are all these children doing in my ponds? · 2021-04-06T07:27:12.115Z · LW · GW

I totally get the frustration, that's why I felt the disclaimer in the beginning was necessary!

As for the question of many students - yes, absolutely. Promoting EA is a smart and valuable goal, and will definitely produce more effect ("or you raise awareness in town, and try to explain to others that there are children drowning in some ponds nearby"). And, as you say, it's precisely what Singer is doing.

Regarding systemic change: I think that's a conversation stopper in many cases. People say "X is cool and everything, but what we REALLY need is systemic change". But that's, like, a really big task, and it seems to me that it just breeds inaction, as opposed to interventions. I wasn't going for an applause light, only a very narrow criticism of one specific analogy/argument.

Comment by dominicq on What are all these children doing in my ponds? · 2021-04-05T18:28:30.226Z · LW · GW

I'm sorry you don't find it valuable. It's an argument that bugged me - I first heard it only a couple of years ago on a podcast completely unrelated to EA, accepted is as valid, but felt that something was off. I worked through my confusion and this is the result. Maybe everyone who hears it immediately thinks of all the criticism you listed, but I doubt it. 

Who benefits from the last sentence? I guess people like me, or whoever hears the analogy and accepts it without first analyzing it a bit.

It's not criticism of Singer in general either. Chris says that this analogy is only the beginning of his argument, and I totally agree (and I happen to agree with almost all of Singer's conclusions, at least those that I've read afterwards).

Comment by dominicq on Bureaucracy is a world of magic · 2021-03-30T13:58:15.555Z · LW · GW

That is true, rarely do you get someone who intentionally wants to make you miserable. They usually just make you miserable as a side-effect of not caring enough, but as soon as you're sufficiently annoying, they do one of those two things.

Comment by dominicq on Bureaucracy is a world of magic · 2021-03-29T21:02:19.750Z · LW · GW

Added to reading list, thanks!

Comment by dominicq on Buying a house and making friends in unexpected places · 2021-03-29T12:51:31.069Z · LW · GW

Going outside of the world of house buying, I find that 50% of interactions I had with repair people were like that as well. So that definitely makes sense.

Other explanations are that people are afraid of trying things out, don't have time, or insist on a reality that simply isn't there (that when you pay someone to do something, they should reliably do it).

Comment by dominicq on dominicq's Shortform · 2021-03-25T08:55:22.935Z · LW · GW

"Embracing the Extended Mind" is my short film (8 min) about the importance of embracing things outside of your head so that things inside of your head can work better. Watch it here:

Comment by dominicq on Reflections on the cryonics sequence · 2021-02-03T10:55:48.334Z · LW · GW

Excellent! I've also been cryocrastinating for far too long, this might be the impetus I need to finally start.

Comment by dominicq on dominicq's Shortform · 2021-02-01T18:40:34.520Z · LW · GW

I want to share one of the most useful articles I read: You Might as Well Be a Great Copy Editor.

Most writing is MUCH better if it goes through at least one editing pass, with diminishing returns the more editing you do. The trick is not to mix writing with editing - write first, let it be ugly, let your stream of consciousness take you away. And when you're done, then become the critic and the editor.

Comment by dominicq on Taking money seriously · 2021-02-01T16:58:54.914Z · LW · GW

I totally agree with "activists are one of the constraints". And while getting more knowledge can give you greater legitimacy, there's also significant opportunity cost here. Like, in certain eco-activism circles, you have to specialize. You need to learn skills, and the specialization is even more granular than someone from the outside might expect. Example: there's a lot of training involved in preparing and releasing banners, or in organizing peaceful demonstrations. You simply don't have time to learn about the subject matter in depth, because you have to practice your knots, or social engineer your way onto a roof. Doubly so if you have work and family to balance alongside! I could maybe write about this as well.

Anyway, great observation and analysis, thanks!

Comment by dominicq on Rule Thinkers In, Not Out · 2021-01-11T23:40:22.712Z · LW · GW

A good explanation of the difference between intellectual exploration and promoting people. You don't need to agree with everything someone says, and you don't even need to like them, but if they occasionally provide good insight, they are worth taking into account. If you propagate this strategy, you may even get to a "wisdom of the crowds" scenario - you'll have many voices to integrate in your own thinking, potentially getting you farther along than if you just had one thought leader you liked.

Having many smart people you don't necessarily agree with, like, or respect > having an idol you always agree with.

The prerequisite for all of this is to be a "high-decoupling" person. Rationalists (by definition?) have this personality, but this post is nevertheless very useful as it sketches out why separating the messenger, the context, and the message is good. And potentially, it teaches those with lower decoupling philosophies to stop "respecting" a Person Who Is Correct, but to start listening to many voices and judge for themselves what makes sense and what doesn't.

Comment by dominicq on Bets, Bonds, and Kindergarteners · 2021-01-04T12:54:17.613Z · LW · GW

Honestly... parenting goals!

Comment by dominicq on Great minds might not think alike · 2021-01-03T18:51:54.183Z · LW · GW

This is no surprise — as I mentioned, translators are few and far between — but this example goes to show how useful a translator can be.

In addition to that, they can be explicitly unwanted or feel unwanted. I think that this is partially because translation is often done by people who argue for moderation to give off an air of wisdom which isn't there.

But another, maybe more significant part, is the fact that even good translators (like Scott Alexander) have limited power. Not everyone wants to read Scott Alexander-like bloggers, and not everyone wants a competing perspective. That leaves you with the option to stretch your translation, but stretch it too far, and you get to a point where you just have a useless analogy to something your audience already understands. Try to be true to the original worldview and nobody listens you unless they exceed some level of openness.

Great post.

Comment by dominicq on Engaging Seriously with Short Timelines · 2020-07-31T09:10:07.088Z · LW · GW

Some career ideas for non-math and non-finance people:

Pursue a more primitive lifestyle: live off the land and farm. You can make it escapist (trying to ignore what's going on in the world) or a strategic fortress (if everything crumbles, I will not starve in the city). Everyone will always need food, so for as long as there are humans, there will be need for those who grow it. Also a good option because you can dial the primitive part up or down: you can either be a secluded monk or a farmer feeding the region.

Pursue a trade or human contact job: no GPT will replace a nurse, a physical therapist, a plumber, an electrician. For as long as people need things, they will need someone to do these things for them.