Lesswrong Community's How-Tos and Recommendations 2012-05-07T13:41:52.658Z · score: 25 (26 votes)


Comment by ee43026f on Open thread, Oct. 12 - Oct. 18, 2015 · 2015-10-13T22:20:32.842Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But it's still a compromise. Is it part of humanity's utility function to value another species' utility function to such an extent that they would accept the tradeoff of changing humanity's utility function to preserve as much of the other species' utility function?

I don't recall any mention of humanity being total utilitarians in the story. Neither did the compromise made by the superhappies strike me as being better for all parties than their original values were, for each of them.

The only reason the compromise was supposed to be beneficial is because the three species made contact and couldn't easily coexist together from that point on. Also, because the superhappies were the stronger force and could therefore easily enforce their own solution. Cutting off the link removes those assumptions, and allows each species to preserve its utility function, which I assume they have a preference for, at least humans and baby-eaters.

Comment by ee43026f on Stupid Questions July 2015 · 2015-07-02T11:31:34.323Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What are your interests then? Within and without the scope of a relationship? What is your interest in dating? Do you feel compelled to date because it sounds like something everyone should do, and not doing so marks you as abnormal or dysfunctional? If you don't feel particularly compelled to date or enter relationship, then no, it isn't worth it.

Similarly, if you suspect you have interests that would clash with having to seriously date or being in a relationship, then maybe the best compromise is not to get in a relationship. it may also be possible to enter a relationship more suited to your needs, one that can preserve your other interests, time and freedoms, if your drive to date and be in a relationship is strong enough to be unavoidable and compete with your other drives.

Besides, serious "classical" dating (in fact, what do you mean by dating? What kind of activities and investments were you thinking about?) is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a satisfying relationship.

Comment by ee43026f on On Walmart, And Who Bears Responsibility For the Poor · 2013-11-28T07:27:07.425Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That's assuming a leader's vices somehow correlate with enacting positive societal changes (when the contrary would seem more likely). Otherwise choosing instead one of the many, just as competent and not as corrupt potential leaders is still a superior choice.

Comment by ee43026f on [link] Book review: Mindmelding: Consciousness, Neuroscience, and the Mind’s Privacy · 2013-07-31T01:17:30.635Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How difficult would developing such mind-melding technology rate against developing mature anti-aging technology (which it could functionally replace)?

Comment by ee43026f on Irrational hardware vs. rational software · 2012-05-23T00:10:33.314Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

and is not regularly the guiding principle of not hugely successful people?

Why the dichotomy? A principle can be used by different people with different abilities, leading to different levels of success, but still remain fundamentally flawed, leading to suboptimal achievement for both gifted and non-gifted people.

Short term benefits vs long term benefits..

Comment by ee43026f on Shaving: Less Long · 2012-05-21T00:17:55.651Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I almost never shave. I hate the feeling, somehow manage to draw blood even with electric razors, and it wastes time I could put into something else. Instead I enhance and channel my natural trichotillomania urges into continuously plucking my facial hair one by one with tweezers. I usually don't even pay attention anymore, so that I can still do something else like reading at the same time, and there's never more than handful of hairs that need removing from day to day unless I stop for a few days. It doesn't really hurt either, not after the first few times anyway. Plucked hairs will not become apparent again for days.

Someday I'll probably just give more definitive hair removal methods a try. This might actually be even more cost effective than having to set apart some of my time each day for decades to shave.

(Assume 10 minutes a day, time valued at least at $10 / h (assuming San Francisco and assuming it won't change for a long while)(and I'm not even counting the initial price of an electric shaver, neither of all the electricity needed to operate it). That's $608 per year. Average laser hair removal cost would be around $1649 if I am to believe this, and time put into it would be negligible (like around 10 hours at most?). Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that like investing $1749 now and expecting continuous fixed dividends of $608 (~ 37%) every year for several decades? (Assuming hair removal to be definitive of course. Even if not, settling for a few years may already be enough to amortize the investment. Let's say in that case, with a discount rate of 8% on 5 years I think the present value of all the money saved would be around $2 427, $678 in excess of what's been invested. ))

Comment by ee43026f on Shaving: Less Long · 2012-05-20T23:54:17.275Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For a long time I preferred using a sleeping bag for just that reason.

Comment by ee43026f on Most transferable skills? · 2012-05-12T00:22:26.095Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe there are tips to be found here :

Comment by ee43026f on Most transferable skills? · 2012-05-12T00:15:51.161Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Self-control is trainable and is applicable to learning and practicing many skills. Small, short and regular training exercises such as writing with your non-dominant hand to write or striving to maintain your posture can be a first step to build it up. (See "Can self-regulatory capacity be increased?" in Heatherton's paper at

Comment by ee43026f on If epistemic and instrumental rationality strongly conflict · 2012-05-10T04:20:30.085Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Even then there might be other -instrumental- shortcomings to certain instrumental strategies, such as being religious, besides forfeiting truth, and some may be more conspicuous than others. For instance, believing in gods and an afterlife would make it all the more unlikely to develop life-extension techniques. Advocating happiness for its own sake based on a misconception that dulls your grip on reality is somewhere close next to wireheading I think.

Comment by ee43026f on Lesswrong Community's How-Tos and Recommendations · 2012-05-07T15:50:09.045Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fair. However, such topics can can get people together, as well as attract /interest newcomers. How could I still explicitly emphasize the idea that these posts are a benefit and an aspect of the Lesswrong community while removing the ambiguity about this being about community building?

(I'll change it to "Lesswrong Community's How-Tos and Recommendations" for the time being).

Comment by ee43026f on Lesswrong Community's How-Tos and Recommendations · 2012-05-07T14:08:33.450Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Added.

Comment by ee43026f on Lesswrong Community's How-Tos and Recommendations · 2012-05-07T13:53:47.581Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oops. Thanks. Done.

Comment by ee43026f on Low hanging fruit: analyzing your nutrition · 2012-05-05T15:42:17.924Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

There's also software that can track your nutrients and calories. Toying with it, adding random foods helps one get a better intuitive assessment of foods nutrition. After a while you'll just start to know what to roughly expect of the food on your platter.

Comment by ee43026f on Rationality and Winning · 2012-05-04T22:45:29.555Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Also, while the prior probability of winning is (should be) higher in the rationality group, and lower outside, there are likely still many more winners outside the rationality group, because there are so many more people outside it than within. Making use of the availability heuristic to estimate "winning" and decide whether rationality pays off won't work well.

Comment by ee43026f on The Stable State is Broken · 2012-03-12T19:21:37.272Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

That's a very important and basic observation.

You missed another example : cancer. Cankerous cells are much better at replicating themselves than normal cells are. Pluricellular organisms have a multitude of systems to keep their component cells in check, yet they still fail at it from time to time. Biology has had billions of years of evolution to fine tune how it enforces cooperation within larger organisms. Can we do better, especially as the components we're considering at our scale may be as complex and clever to us as cells are to an organism? (Meaning we may not have a comparative advantage even though we're subtler than evolution).

So aside from asking what we can do next, I'd like to add : "Can we do something next?" In order to enforce a system within which you won't observe such an effect, you might need to be larger, have more resources than the sum of all you're trying to steer. Otherwise, some part of that system will eventually take over. And even then, chance events may always remain beyond your capacity to control.

Comment by ee43026f on Absolute denial for atheists · 2012-03-01T16:54:30.618Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Shakespeare isn't the greatest writer ever.

Granted, it's likely he may have been innovative back then, and he may have left a trace on society. So what? The guy picked low-hanging fruits.

Furthermore, I find it difficult to believe no one ever did better since then, especially if considering all cultures and writers, in a span of 400 years. Especially since people's taste in literature and stories vary.

Revering Shakespeare seems like a cached thought and an applause light more than anything. It's like saying the Bible is the greatest book ever written. Both could only become so successful because of the appalling lack of any serious competition.

Comment by ee43026f on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-03-01T13:27:12.572Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

More infanticide advocacy here :

Recently, Francesca Minerva published in the Journal of Medical Ethics arguing the case that :

"what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."

Random press coverage complete with indignant comments

Actual paper, pdf, freely available

Comment by ee43026f on Avoid misinterpreting your emotions · 2012-02-10T19:17:13.142Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if being able to get into a dissociative-like state at will, where you didn't actually feel like being yourself, but rather like an external spectator to your own feelings, would help with being able to take a more objective, far view on your own feelings. Are there drugs that can help achieve that safely anyway?

I seem to recall Michael Vassar summarizing Robert Greene as essentially "repetitively associate yourself with positive feelings in other people's head regardless of whether those feelings have anything to do about you."

Brains can't compartmentalize such feelings well. Given enough time and repetitions, even being aware of it, I suspect you'd come to like or dislike someone if you consistently had good or bad feelings when you met, regardless of whether those had anything to do with that person.