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Updates from Boston 2017-12-05T17:22:18.735Z

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Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on My Dating Plan ala Geoffrey Miller · 2020-07-23T03:34:45.340Z · LW · GW

I'm going to completely ignore the discourse and just focus on this section:

Buy new, classier pants; buy black shoes/belt; buy a coat; buy cologne; buy more professorial clothes; learn "fit" for oxfords, chinos and jeans; sport coat; peacoat

No offense intended, you are certainly not alone in your misconceptions, but I think it's pretty clear from this that you are confused about fashion and that you should not be buying expensive clothes.

1. Buy brown leather, not black. Black leather is breaking a "rule" and you are not ready to break rules. Plus everyone buys black because they think it "goes with everything" and brown leather is an extremely safe way to stand out.

2. Don't buy a sport coat or any other kind of blazer. Getting the fit right for these is hard and you will end up wasting a bunch of money.

3. I would definitely skip the cologne. Cologne screams "trying too hard" and since you clearly *are* trying pretty hard you want to avoid that.

4. Oxfords are a type of shoe. Since it doesn't make sense to talk about their fit, I assume you mean an oxford cloth button down. This is pointless pedantry and there's nothing wrong with wearing oxford cloth button downs.

5. Don't buy Clarks Desert Boots. You didn't mention them but you look like you're going down that path.

I think you should probably stick to improving on the casual nerd fashion scale (get jeans and chinos that fit, buy some nice brightly colored canvas shoes, well-fit flannel shirts, that type of thing).

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on April Fools: Announcing: Karma 2.0 · 2018-04-01T15:36:04.595Z · LW · GW

Jokes on you I can just edit the CSS.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-21T00:38:56.777Z · LW · GW

We have at least one person who was part of Caltech culture for a while, so that is probably where we got it.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Success and Fail Rates of Monthly Policies · 2017-12-10T08:10:43.047Z · LW · GW

I am happy to have helped cause this post to exist.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-07T04:12:48.883Z · LW · GW

Our first iteration had questions extremely similar to yours, actually. I believe we had rewordings of each of those questions.

I don't have a good idea of what made them work, because I only started participating after they'd started to decline. There was a lot of socializing that dragged down discussions, but even when we limited socializing I didn't notice any improvement.

Personally I'm skeptical of the entire endeavour. People claimed lots of positive effects, but then as soon as I tried to measure them they disappeared. I kind of suspect that people notice lots of possibilities during weekly review, and feel like they've accomplished something, but then don't actually follow through.

However I think it's pretty plausible that there exists a useful weekly review structure, so I plan to continue testing them.

I'm not sure if you have any data on your weekly reviews (maybe how often you change a behavior as a result?) but I'd be very interested.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-06T00:22:41.474Z · LW · GW

Habitica is an app for tracking habits and tasks, designed to mimic an RPG, including the part where players form parties.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-06T00:12:42.213Z · LW · GW

(If you want the full list I'd need an email so I can share the relevant spreadsheet)

  • Schedule passport photo appointment
  • Order glasses
  • Set up account with Vanguard
  • Call insurance company
  • Set up password management system
  • Schedule dentist appointment
Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-05T21:41:31.788Z · LW · GW

I might have represented these as more social than I intended? 3/8 (sprints, worksheets, and Sphex) are not inherently group-focused. We tend to do them in groups, but I've tried all three on my own and seen approximately the same results.

Still now that you point it out I think we (meaning the Boston community) are biasing ourselves towards generating group interventions. Will try a few rounds of generating purely individual interventions/techniques.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-05T20:42:13.303Z · LW · GW

I think it's better to think about it on the question level:

  • There were a lot of questions ("What are you working on now", for instance) that received basically the same answer every time, so they were useless.
  • Some other questions ("What do you need to get off your plate") tended to receive the same answer every time, and they created an ugh field around the relevant thing by repeatedly reminding participants of their failure to do the thing.
  • Some questions were designed to catch rare-but-bad events ("Do you need to refill your medications"). I'm not sure if these were effective, because they didn't exist for long enough to expect them to be answered positively. Bundling them with other Sphex question was a mistake, because they died along with it.
  • By far the most effective question (in terms of directly causing people to do things / change their behavior) was "Is there anything you can take care of right now? If so: do it". Most other questions never did anything, this once got something accomplished ~1/week.

(Worth noting that we were only recording data towards the end of Sphex's life, because that was when I started to organize it, and I care a lot about gathering data).

I've personally replaced Sphex with a set of check-ins spaced to occur at a reasonable rate ("When was the last time you made a git commit?", "When was the last time you read a machine learning paper?"), etc. The general idea of "create check-ins" might work for other people, but the questions are probably too specific to me to be useful.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Updates from Boston · 2017-12-05T19:35:02.026Z · LW · GW

Maybe worth saying: I think of all of these as instrumental rationality outputs. They aren't meant to make people more rational, they're ideas a rational person might come up with in order to accomplish other goals.

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Blind Empiricism · 2017-11-14T14:25:00.345Z · LW · GW

From a software engineering perspective, your first founder is completely correct. The second you have something that runs you want to show it to users, because they're part of your feedback loop. You want to see how someone who knows nothing about your system will interact with it, whether they'll be able to use the interface, what new bugs they'll turn up with their fiddling, etc.

I wonder if perhaps the market research use of an MVP and the software engineering use have been confused, because they're both "the first time you show the product to users".

Comment by evolution-is-just-a-theorem on Inadequacy and Modesty · 2017-10-28T23:01:43.861Z · LW · GW

So why didn't the Bank of Japan print more money? If they didn't have an incentive one way or another I would expect them to cave to the political pressure, so what was the counter-incentive? Did they genuinely disagree and think that printing money was a bad idea? Were they reluctant to change policies because then they would look stupid?

Also I propose the "I can't do anything because doing something would be arrogant" attitude be termed modesty-paralysis.