DIY Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. Who wants to go first? 2012-03-14T16:58:30.024Z · score: 14 (19 votes)
RAND Health Insurance Experiment critiques 2012-02-18T17:52:59.330Z · score: 5 (6 votes)


Comment by dustin on Types of Knowledge · 2020-06-20T19:56:43.930Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

First, an apology as this comment is going to be frustratingly lacking much in the way of concrete examples. I have the kernel of an idea, but it would require more thought than I'm willing to put into it to expand it. I post it to get it out of my head and in case maybe someone else will want to think about it more...

I kind of understand the categories you're trying to carve out, but I'm also leery of them. It feels like your descriptions of the categories make assumptions about meanings and these assumptions are hidden and a person could trick themselves.

I'd have to think about it a lot more to really pin down the ephemeral idea I'm trying to get at, but it's similar to the observation I've made here before that Sherlock Holmes's observation that "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." is dangerous because its too easy to convince yourself that you've explored all the possible explanations.

In a similar manner, your description of why something should be considered engineering or scientific knowledge feels as if a person could convince themselves without realizing it that a thing belongs in one category or another where from an objective standpoint you'd be able to make a rational argument for something appearing in either category.

It also feels as if many things will switch between categories depending upon your priors. Your system as stated seems like it would put reciting the steps to make bread and making bread with those steps into separate categories. As an avid bread maker, I'm currently unconvinced of the utility of a category system that would put reciting the steps to make bread and actually making bread with those steps into different categories. I guess I would ask what is the goal of putting those two things into separate categories? What do you hope to get out of doing so?

On the other hand, I'm also unconvinced that a category system has to be so rigorous to be useful. It might be that a category system can be just rigorous enough to help a person...but, like I said, I'm leery that it will lead a person astray from their goals of using such a system without them realizing it.

Comment by dustin on Why isn’t assassination/sabotage more common? · 2020-06-07T22:00:31.879Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It seems more likely to me that modern technology has made it harder for someone to become a leader even if there are people who have decided to act as such. It does not seem likely to me that there are no outspoken people who want to be leaders or that they are, in general, afraid of assassination.

Take the realm of elected political leaders. By the very nature of this realm there is just one person of focus for each campaign and I'm not under the impression that there are a dwindling number of campaigns for political office...a position that has been under threat of assassination over history.

Comment by dustin on Why isn’t assassination/sabotage more common? · 2020-06-05T02:15:05.933Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Was that actually the plan or just a post facto explanation? My prior would be that this happened because of the organizing mechanisms of the day (internet vs in-person meeting of the past).

Comment by dustin on Running Wired Ethernet · 2020-05-14T06:51:20.806Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Just so you know, the crawlspace is where every dropped nail ends up during construction. Some contractors do a better job than others at cleaning that up.

Comment by dustin on Studies On Slack · 2020-05-14T00:47:59.165Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can only assume you aren't aware that there are many readily available discussions about why Behe's irreducible complexity doesn't hold water.

To have any chance of making any headway with the argument you seem to be attempting here, you're going to have to seriously engage with the large quantity of work that is a retort to the irreducible complexity thesis.

Imagine you're in a world where it's not immediately obvious that a structure built of brick is more resistant to fire than a structure built of straw. There's been lots of discussion back and forth for generations about the relative merits of brick vs straw.

There's a famous expert in brick structures named Fred and everyone on both sides of the debate are aware of Fred. Fred has written a book that brick people think makes it obvious that brick buildings are the best. The straw people have many and varied reasons that they think prove Fred is wrong.

Now, you're interested in helping the straw people see the light. You have an opportunity to talk to a room full of straw people. You want to convince them that brick structures are the best. You're not interested in a tribal fight about brick vs straw, you want to actually persuade and convince.

Would your opening gambit be to say "Brick structures are the best because Fred says so? It's so obvious!". No, of course not! The most reasonable approach would be to engage with the already extensive discussion the straw people have around Fred's ideas.

Comment by dustin on Running Wired Ethernet · 2020-05-13T23:09:07.268Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Those bare feet in a crawlspace make me nervous!

Comment by dustin on Why I'm Not Vegan · 2020-04-12T00:46:13.673Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I could imagine so would a lot of non-rationalist meat eaters

Maybe your imagination accurately reflects reality or maybe not, but it's certainly not discongruent with enough people having the viewpoint(s) that make jkaufman's stance not-unusual.

The average person's revealed preferences seem to assign close to zero weight to animal suffering.

On the other hand, we could make the argument that we should compare jkaufman's position to what I would assume to be the tiny minority of people who have given any substantial amount of thought to veganism and animal suffering.

In that case, I would agree that it is likely that he is unusual.

Comment by dustin on [U.S. Specific] Free money (~$5k-$30k) for Independent Contractors and grant recipients from U.S. government · 2020-04-12T00:39:21.214Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I decided against applying for either of these. I'm self-employed with no other employees and I haven't currently lost any income. I may or may not in the coming months. I'm worried about the repercussions if I apply for this, accept the money, and then end up not actually needing it.

Comment by dustin on Why I'm Not Vegan · 2020-04-09T21:36:58.279Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Given the rate of veganism, I'm not sure "unusual" would apply to jkaufman in either case.

Comment by dustin on Research on repurposing filter products for masks? · 2020-04-06T18:57:20.454Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW


I'm just hoping that that they can give the OP some information about using HEPA filters.

I've noticed that many N95 masks also have an exhaust valve.

Comment by dustin on Research on repurposing filter products for masks? · 2020-04-03T23:14:36.589Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have an answer, but maybe you can reach out to the people at MUSC who designed this:

Comment by dustin on The questions one needs not address · 2020-03-23T19:31:03.169Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm having a hard time understanding how your comment is applicable to mine. AFAICT, definitions have little to do with my comment.

Comment by dustin on The questions one needs not address · 2020-03-21T23:55:11.376Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It’s the sort of act that says “Yeah, we made this awe-inspiring thing, but we really owe it to thousands of of past generations. None of us can fully comprehend how we managed to do this, so let’s dedicate its highest floor to something transcendent, something that symbolizes the beautiful, impossible and absurd experiment that made it possible, our society”.

It feels like this is something you're reading into it more than what people creating it necessarily thought. You can easily tell a bunch of other just-as-plausible stories about it that are not nearly as positive-sounding.

Comment by dustin on Importing masks from China · 2020-03-21T01:27:18.259Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For plenty of stuff the fact it's fake, a cheap copy, or just crappy in general isn't that much of an issue.

For example, aliexpress is widely used by hobbyists for cheap electronics components like sensors and microcontrollers.

Comment by dustin on How are people tracking confirmed Coronavirus cases / Coronavirus deaths? · 2020-03-08T01:20:01.691Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I use Home Assistant for my home automation needs. It has a coronavirus sensor which pulls from the John Hopkins data. I then do two things with that data:

1. I have HA configured to send notifications to my phone when deaths and confirmed cases change by X%.

2. I use the influxdb integration with HA to ship the sensor data to...influxdb. I graph that data with Grafana.

covid-19 graph

Comment by dustin on Quarantine Preparations · 2020-03-03T00:29:17.922Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm interested in the mask recommendation.

Not that I've done a ton of research but most of the articles I've come across have been neutral-to-negative about masks.

Here's one of the articles I just came across today:

edit: Though, I guess maybe the idea of getting some is to protect others if you have symptoms rather than protecting yourself from getting infected.

Comment by dustin on How much delay do you generally have between having a good new idea and sharing that idea publicly online? · 2020-02-22T23:38:45.671Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'll ship it when it's ready.

If I have a good idea about how to tie my shoelaces I'll share it immediately!

If I have a good idea about a foundational change in western philosophy it will take me years.

Comment by dustin on Wanting More Intellectual Stamina · 2020-02-18T18:51:41.627Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I used to be terribly distracted by video games.

I can't pinpoint the exact thing that happened that let me really cut down on that, but some things I did that all seemed to lead to my current state of playing video games 0-3 hours per week.

1. Uninstalled all games and game distribution services.

2. Downgraded my internet connection to something that makes downloading games take a long time. (I've since upgraded my internet connection but haven't had a "relapse")

3. Unsubscribed from video gaming RSS feeds.

4. Gotten older!

Comment by dustin on Don't Double-Crux With Suicide Rock · 2020-01-01T21:09:01.287Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I just want to spring off of this to point out something about Aumann's agreement theorem. I often see it used as a kind of cudgel because people miss an important aspect.

It can take us human beings time and effort to converge on a view.

Oftentimes it's just not worth it to one or more of the participants to invest that time and effort.

Comment by dustin on Circling as Cousin to Rationality · 2020-01-01T02:00:15.698Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

A slight bit of style critique: I spent the first half of the post thinking "why does he keep capitalizing the word circle and using it this way?". I've literally never heard of this.

It's possible that I'm just way out of the norm here. I don't live in a rationalist hub of activity, but I do read a good portion of LW and a few related blogs.

Comment by dustin on Programmers Should Plan For Lower Pay · 2019-12-29T19:29:12.544Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I handle this uncertainty via diversification.

I've dumped portions of my income into purchasing and building rental properties.

Comment by dustin on Defining "Antimeme" · 2019-12-27T00:08:51.217Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW
The typical response to encountering a regular meme is to assign a truth value to it via rationality.

This seems...iffy.

Comment by dustin on Tapping Out In Two · 2019-12-06T00:32:22.044Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As I've gotten older, I've become more and more fine with just leaving an internet argument. The *other guy is winning* feeling is 95% gone.

Now, that doesn't mean I won't make a comment or two, but if the other person wants to get into a back and forth that seems like it's going to be draining I'm completely fine with just not participating anymore.

All this to say is that maybe it'll get easier for some?

(FWIW, I'm ~40 and I've been arguing on the internet since I was 12-ish)

Comment by dustin on Elon Musk is wrong: Robotaxis are stupid. We need standardized rented autonomous tugs to move customized owned unpowered wagons. · 2019-11-04T20:06:46.381Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't that just the price of an electric car right now? Won't they be vastly cheaper in the future?

Comment by dustin on Aella on Rationality and the Void · 2019-11-01T19:46:35.718Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've never went on a trip, but I always find descriptions of the experience puzzling. The various things that people describe seem like things I "do" myself when I put my mind to it.

This confuses me as either people are bad at describing what the experience is like or I'm different from people who write about their experiences on LSD.

edit: To be clear, people generally note that it's difficult to put into language what the experience is like, so when I say people are bad at describing the experience, I don't believe this to be an accountable failure on the explainers part.

Comment by dustin on A simple sketch of how realism became unpopular · 2019-10-12T15:50:07.176Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can see this being true, but I'm not entirely convinced.

I have no background in philosophy. I don't read philosophy other than occasionally dipping into LW.

Of course, there exists the possibility that occasional dipping into LW has been enough, or that the necessary mental rigor has just seeped into the general populace over the intervening few hundred years.

Also, I'm not sure "anyone in 1710" is the right comparison. More like "people thinking about philosophy in 1710".

Of course, that is likely what you meant, but I think the less precise wording you used makes your argument a lot more convincing so I think it's important to point out the distinction.

To be clear, I'm not arguing that actually I am a ninja of philsophy. I'm just saying that your point doesn't necessarily make me less confused.

Comment by dustin on A simple sketch of how realism became unpopular · 2019-10-12T00:27:26.808Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW
The error here is mixing up what falls inside vs. outside of quotation marks. "I'm conceiving of a not-conceivable object" is a formal contradiction, but "I'm conceiving of the concept 'a not-conceivable object'" isn't, and human brains and natural language make it easy to mix up levels like those.

I immediately saw this mistake *while reading the text of the mistake.*

So, now I'm confused. Am I master ninja of a philosopher? Are you misrepresenting the level of people's confusion about this? Have I been arguing on the internet for 3 decades and thus I'm just hypersensitive to language/text based mistakes? Are we both wrong that this is a mistake?

Comment by dustin on What is category theory? · 2019-10-06T17:46:32.341Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious if being a programmer is helpful to understanding category theory in the same way as having "a few mathematical structures under your belt" is.

Comment by dustin on Why did we wait so long for the bicycle? · 2019-07-17T19:50:24.143Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
So what’s the real explanation?

It seems most likely to me that there is no one real explanation, but rather a combination of a bunch of things.

Comment by dustin on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-31T19:24:59.158Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that is true. However, the thought I intended to convey when I started writing my comment was that it's possible that many people have ideas that they just don't write or talk about that much because of confidence or just not caring enough or whatever.

In other words, you might be asking "why don't people want to share their ideas?" rather than "why don't people have ideas?".

Comment by dustin on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-30T01:22:17.307Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My first thought do you know people aren't having ideas? Very few of my ideas are something I've thought enough about to write down or talk about in public, and many (most?) people do not have a great desire to write down or discuss their not-fully-fleshed-out ideas for public consumption anyway.

This comment is an idea of sorts, and I just happened to read it whilst at the right confluence of mood, energy, thoughtfulness, etc for me to put in the effort of making it. Another possible contributing explanation for the dearth of idea-having people?

Comment by dustin on Epistemic Spot Check: The Dorito Effect (Mark Schatzker) · 2018-10-04T01:01:29.330Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not that I've noticed.

Comment by dustin on Epistemic Spot Check: The Dorito Effect (Mark Schatzker) · 2018-10-03T22:26:02.924Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW
This doesn’t jive with my personal experience. I definitely crave nutrients and am satisfied by them even without tasting them.

This is interesting to me. I have no similar experience.

Comment by dustin on The simple picture on AI safety · 2018-05-29T01:28:50.662Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The "correct" part is what everyone is concerned about, though.

Comment by dustin on Moral frameworks and the Harris/Klein debate · 2018-05-04T18:21:21.376Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You make Ezra's point so much better than he did. (If that is indeed a good summary of what Ezra was trying to say).

Of course, that's much easier to do while not in the midst of a back-and-forth.

Comment by dustin on Popular religions suggest extrapolated volition is non-existence and wireheading · 2018-02-09T00:45:33.112Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not commenting to agree or disagree really, just saying something your post made me remember thinking about before...

I'm not convinced that the typical religious person has actually thought through the implications of the supposed end result of their religion. Even when confronted with the fact that wireheading or whatever is the end result, other tribal biases come into play.

Comment by dustin on The Critical Rationalist View on Artificial Intelligence · 2017-12-06T17:47:15.310Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quick feedback:

Something about the text formatting, paragraph density, and paragraph size uniformity makes this difficult to read.

Comment by dustin on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-01T15:57:31.401Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

As has been mentioned a couple times already...I don't know how I'm supposed to use the site.

I go there and then I'm just like "now what?".

  1. It looks like there's different places I can go to read different subsets of all available posts. How do I know I'm not missing any posts?

  2. When I go to, there's a huge section at the top of stuff I've already read and it's always there. I have to scroll below the fold to see new content.

  3. So the first section I see when I scroll down is called "Featured Posts". What makes these posts featured?

  4. Next section is "Recent Frontpage Posts". What's a "Frontpage" post? Am I missing some sort of non-frontpage posts by just reading this section?

  5. Under the "Frontpage" posts heading there's a couple of links that look like they're supposed to filter the posts. Maybe I should be reading the "see all posts" link. Does that mean all "frontpage" posts and leaves out non-frontpage posts? I dunno.

Comment by dustin on LW 2.0 Open Beta Live · 2017-09-21T16:39:01.405Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What, specifically, is the problem you're having that requires patience? It's not using any notably weird/esoteric/advanced technology...

Comment by dustin on LW 2.0 Open Beta Live · 2017-09-21T14:26:17.053Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a little confused about how to use my current LW account over there.

If I click "forgot my password" I never get an email, even though I have an email address tied to my LW account.

ETA: nothing in my span folder when I search for "lesser"

Comment by dustin on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T17:50:15.106Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Over the years I've gone through periods of time where I can devote the effort/time to thoroughly reading LW and periods of time where I can basically just skim it.

Because of this I'm in a good position to judge the reliability of karma in surfacing content for its readability.

My judgement is that karma strongly correlates with readability.

Comment by dustin on Ten small life improvements · 2017-08-20T23:04:16.415Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm very impressed you're still using this sort of system 5 years later!

Comment by dustin on Ten small life improvements · 2017-08-20T19:34:25.915Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd be really interested in how someone uses (work|vim)flowy day to day.

I've started to use workflowy several times over the years but then just kind of drift away after a week or so...

Also, Ditto is a great clipboard manager for Windows.

Comment by dustin on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-24T18:54:37.438Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

1) It's not readily apparent to me that it is readily apparent to all potential readers that it is a throwaway generalization.

2) I'm not sure what you mean by "focus on". Are you claiming that someone who notices that some might feel outgrouped or that someone who does feel outgrouped are going to be unable to read, comprehend, and/or appreciate the rest of the post? Are you claiming that the rest of the essay makes it readily apparent that the phrase under discussion is just a throwaway generalization? Are you claiming that everyone should always recognize throwaway generalizations and not react to them? Are you claiming that throwaway generalizations do not ever say anything about the mindset of those who are using them?

Comment by dustin on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-20T13:51:49.512Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Consider that the phrase seems like a pretty effective way to out-group other people.

Comment by dustin on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-19T17:52:10.369Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm skeptical that meetups are representative of rationalists in general.

Comment by dustin on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-19T17:44:31.839Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Rationalists like to live in group houses.

Do they? This seems like a pretty strong claim to make.

Comment by dustin on How often do you check this forum? · 2017-02-05T02:58:32.061Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I read almost every post and not very many comments...because i subscribe to the RSS feeds.

Comment by dustin on Is Evidential Decision Theory presumptuous? · 2017-02-02T13:54:32.327Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

My first thought after skimming your post and thinking about it for 30 seconds is that reality does not have to care about about what you think is presumptuous. (I post because many times I reason myself out of my initial reaction and then later regret having done so. Maybe by putting it down in writing it will help me only do this if necessary.)

If the problem with EDT is that is spanws or destroys multiverses with a single thought, and you want to use this fact as an argument against EDT, than you'll have to make the argument that multiverse spawning/destroying is not logically or physically possible.

Presumptuousness is a state of your mind, not something upon which the workings of reality hinges...or at least it doesn't seem that way.

Comment by dustin on Willpower Thermodynamics · 2016-08-16T15:03:28.261Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't really follow the discussion about willpower depletion but seeing this post reminded me that I saw that earlier this year there was a registered replication effort that seems to indicate that ego depletion doesn't exist or is a very small effect.

The paper and some commentary:

And the pop-science article where I first saw mention of it: