Benefits of Calorie Restriction Linked To Other Factors 2012-08-30T00:27:20.762Z
Ask an X 2012-06-05T20:15:59.055Z
Defeating Ugh Ideas 2012-03-25T03:28:19.522Z
Meetup : University of Chicago (Again) 2012-02-27T19:46:22.215Z
Meetup : At the University of Chicago 2012-02-17T17:27:47.294Z
Teaching Suggestions? 2011-08-02T17:21:43.082Z
Developing Empathy 2011-07-24T13:50:04.934Z
Dissolving the Question of Life 2011-06-14T20:17:27.787Z
The Importance of Research 2011-04-04T22:08:41.998Z
Brain Upload Comic 2011-03-17T09:32:33.560Z


Comment by falenas108 on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-15T16:20:24.533Z · LW · GW

Actually, yes.

EDIT: At least, adjusting the cost for how much a USD gets you in South Africa.

Comment by falenas108 on Open Thread, Jul. 6 - Jul. 12, 2015 · 2015-07-07T17:25:51.384Z · LW · GW

I would guess there's a group of people who are just more likely to buy newer, less tested things. These people bought into Zune, but they also got a facebook before nobody else did. AKA, early adaptors.

Comment by falenas108 on Autism, or early isolation? · 2015-06-17T14:47:05.018Z · LW · GW

If lack of social skills were the only part of autism this might be onto something. But autism tends to be a cluster of symptoms, which aren't explainable by a lack of social interactions. For example, autistic people tend to have different sensory perception. I would not expect that symptom to appear from early isolation.

Comment by falenas108 on Open Thread, Jun. 8 - Jun. 14, 2015 · 2015-06-09T21:57:58.037Z · LW · GW

That's not necessarily the case. Low hanging fruit seems like a plausible alternative, as well as the success of meet-up groups or other real-life rationality things replacing online interactions.

Comment by falenas108 on Open Thread, Jun. 8 - Jun. 14, 2015 · 2015-06-08T23:28:14.873Z · LW · GW

I'm about to start being paid for a job, and I was looking at investment advice from LW. I found this thread from a while back and it seemed good, but it's also 4 years old. Can anyone confirm if the first bullet is still accurate? (get VTSMX or VFINX on vanguard, it doesn't matter too much which one.)

Comment by falenas108 on Stupid Questions June 2015 · 2015-05-31T15:25:31.710Z · LW · GW

I'm about to graduate college and go into the real world, and I'm trying to get a job right now. If I'm not able to get one in the next few months, I will need some source of income. What are good reliable ways that I can convert time to money before I get a full-time job?

EDIT: I'm a physics/chemistry undergraduate with a decent GPA, and I have some skills in coding if that helps. I'm applying for jobs in software development and data analysis, and I've applied to 25 so far and have only heard back from 1. I'm going to keep applying and am fairly confident I'll get something, but in case everything fails I want to have a backup.

Comment by falenas108 on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-12T13:46:46.058Z · LW · GW

The biggest thing I did was a showcase item with the MONIAC cycle mentioned earlier. Me and one other person were representing the mercury cycle in nature. We had different plastic bottles representing different parts of nature/forms of mercury, like the atmosphere, methylated and unmethylated mercury, in crustaceans, plankton, fish, ect. The things died or get put in the seafloor, and got pumped back to the top by volcanoes and human activity. (We should have had more stay in the seafloor, but our pump was too powerful.) The flow successfully showed that the top of the food chain got the most mercury, and if the top level "dies" from too much mercury (flows to that bottle were cut off), the next in the chain started to accumulate more mercury.

Other than that, I:

*Wrote 2 Miss American Doll style intro books for KatelynUnit 742-B in the year 2500, KatelynUnit Saves the Never-Ending Day (Because we don't have night anymore) and STANDARD GREETINGS.

*Made a cod-shaped codpiece

*Made a mashup of 4 Taylor Swift songs of 1989 and gregorian chants (989)

*Made a budget for the Minor Activities Board (parody of the Major Activities Board)

*Made an ad for the main technician in the experimental physics class, Van Bistrow, for his now restaurant, The Van Bistro.

As one of two captains I also did general organizing and made sure other people had what they needed to do their items.

Comment by falenas108 on Open Thread, May 11 - May 17, 2015 · 2015-05-12T04:13:29.465Z · LW · GW

In general I don't think there are foundational ideas on LW that shouldn't be questioned. Any idea is up for investigation provided the case is well argued.

But there are certain ideas that will be downvoted and dismissed because people feel like they aren't useful to be talking about, like if God exists. I think OP was asking if it was a topic that fell under this category.

Comment by falenas108 on Open Thread, May 11 - May 17, 2015 · 2015-05-12T04:11:26.670Z · LW · GW

You can probably think about it as the lines of a gravity field also going through the wormhole, and I believe the gravitational force would be 0 around the wormhole.

The actual answer involves thinking about gravity and spacetime as a geometry, which I don't think you want to answer your question.

Comment by falenas108 on The Mr. Hyde of Oxytocin · 2015-05-11T18:05:33.934Z · LW · GW

Yeah, when I was reading this article I kept thinking that social cues are generally not as ambiguous as this article is making it seem.

Off the top of my head, I can't remember a time when me and another person interpreted multiple social cues from a variety of people in completely the opposite directions. Plenty of times when we focused on different traits, but not where one person interpreted someone as warm and open and someone else as cold and unwelcoming.

Comment by falenas108 on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-11T14:23:48.148Z · LW · GW

This may not make much sense to people outside University of Chicago, but every year we have a huge scavenger hunt, one of the biggest in the world, where we do things like make a keyboards that can perform logical operations, made a MONIAC cycles of natural systems, and has in the past included one team making a working nuclear reactor.

Me and one other person decided to form a team for this year, and we co-captained this team. We did way better than anyone expected, beating every team that wasn't an established house team that had over 100 people and lots of monetary resources, while our team had only 15 people.

Comment by falenas108 on Experience of typical mind fallacy. · 2015-04-28T16:18:38.098Z · LW · GW

I think there are two important points I got from the typical mind fallacy. The first is the usually one, that people have different preferences and different ways of thinking. The second is that people have different experiences, and I shouldn't use my experiences with a certain subject as a model for everyone's. Perhaps this could be called the typical experience fallacy?

For example, I grew up in a reform Jew, and my experience from that was "Unpleasant to be forced to say things I don't agree with, but tolerant of differences." It wasn't until I talked with others about their experiences that I realized it ranged to anything from "Everyone must believe strictly in everything, any disagreements are signs of evil" of Orthodox to "God probably doesn't exist and we should do our best to help others" of humanistic chapters.

Comment by falenas108 on Snape's knowledge of valence shells · 2015-04-14T15:44:07.064Z · LW · GW

It's at least plausible that Snape, as a potions expert who grew up with muggles, thought there might be some connection between potions and chemistry and learned the basics of chemistry.

Comment by falenas108 on What are "the really good ideas" that Peter Thiel says are too dangerous to mention? · 2015-04-13T00:08:58.025Z · LW · GW

Is this idea for current Western society, or for love overall?

Comment by falenas108 on Stupid Questions April 2015 · 2015-04-05T17:00:58.859Z · LW · GW


Any moral reasoning that results in "...and I will be miserable for the rest of my life" that is not extremely difficult to prevent and has few other tradeoffs is probably not correct, no matter how well-argued.

Comment by falenas108 on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-17T04:00:28.876Z · LW · GW

More generally, I think Harry should be doing more towards putting together a team.

Which is a lesson he should have learned when Hermione beat him and Draco in the first battle.

Comment by falenas108 on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-14T21:20:35.416Z · LW · GW

There was one part where they were talking about what would happen if Harry were not raised by scientists, and EY basically describes canon.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 121 · 2015-03-14T17:49:22.692Z · LW · GW

If I had to guess, Voldemort did something so Snape understands how Dumbledore manipulated him. Considering how pissed off Voldemort was that Dumbledore would do that, it seems likely that he would find a way to change that now that Dumbledore is gone.

Comment by falenas108 on Calibration Test with database of 150,000+ questions · 2015-03-14T17:47:17.788Z · LW · GW

My favorite calibration tools have been one where there was a numerical answer and you had to express a 50% confidence interval, or 90% confidence interval.

Like, a question would be how many stairs are there in the Statue of Liberty? And my 50% interval would be 400-1000, and my 90% interval would be 200-5000.

Looking up the answer it was 354, and I would mark my 50% as wrong and my 90% as right.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T20:50:22.112Z · LW · GW

From chapter 38, when Harry buys the Quibbler:

"Gosh," Harry said half a minute later, "you get a seer smashed on six slugs of Scotch and she spills all sorts of secret stuff. I mean, who'd have thought that Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were secretly the same person?"

EDIT: Then,

"And I'm secretly sixty-five years old."

Which is also true, because of Voldemort inside him. Which leaves....

"And I'm betrothed to Hermione Granger, and Bellatrix Black, and Luna Lovegood, and oh yes, Draco Malfoy too..."

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T20:29:48.134Z · LW · GW

"In that extremity, I went into the Department of Mysteries and I invoked a password which had never been spoken in the history of the Line of Merlin Unbroken, did a thing forbidden and yet not utterly forbidden."

So, this is the single change that makes this story an AU?

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T20:18:39.943Z · LW · GW

Hm, any particular reason, if Harry is already discussing other vulnerable info like having a transfigured Voldemort, he won't fess up to the part where Quirrel was Voldemort and that he won single-handedly?

Harry's upper hand relies on the idea that Dumbledore knew exactly what he was doing, and them that Dumbledore hired Voldemort to teach children for a year would undermine that.

Incidentally, my P(Dumbledore knew about Quirrelmort) just went way up this chapter.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T16:16:02.164Z · LW · GW

The creature in the potterverse with the most absolute defense is the phoenix.

That would require getting a hold of and killing a Phoenix, which would be difficult even for Quirrel.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-25T17:40:23.855Z · LW · GW

That is when Dumbledore realizes Harry is a "good" Tom Riddle. We don't know when he realizes Harry is a horcrux.

EDIT: In fact, it's almost certain that Dumbledore realizes that Harry is a horcrux before that scene, or at least suspects it. It doesn't look like anything in that conversation in particular would make him realize that, and he clearly knows it by that point.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-22T21:00:44.219Z · LW · GW

It was specifically said that every student and teacher individually signed the contract, so unless that's a lie this is probably not what will happen.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T00:39:23.681Z · LW · GW

In some years, when I had become bored with ruling Britain and moved on to other things, I would arrange with the other Tom Riddle that he should appear to vanquish me, and he would rule over the Britain he had saved.

This is precisely the plan that Quirrel originally planned for Harry, have him pretend to defeat LV and set him up to rule the country.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T00:25:09.379Z · LW · GW

"you are the first person ever to succeed in doing it deliberately?”

Having Quirrell kill someone wouldn't count as them cheering him up deliberately.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T14:51:31.380Z · LW · GW

That definitely hints that part of the plan is to make use of Harrymort in some way, which makes the "why the hell did he bring Harry along" part make sense.

Comment by falenas108 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-17T00:44:19.159Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure how serious this is, but if it were said aloud Harry would hear the difference between the two definitions of "tears," and wouldn't be worried about it if that were the case.

Comment by falenas108 on Stupid Questions February 2015 · 2015-02-02T18:00:05.301Z · LW · GW

I have been pissed off for years at the existance of h-bar and h as separate constants, where almost everywhere h-bar should be the basic constant. IIRC, this is just because the first time either was derived, it happened to be h, so that got called the quantum mechanical constant.

Comment by falenas108 on Group Rationality Diary, February 1-14 · 2015-02-01T22:05:21.424Z · LW · GW

I've had a permanent retainer in my bottom 4 teeth for about 5 years now. I recently started a habit of flossing, but it takes too much effort for me to use the official flosser for those. But, I recently started using the proxabrush every morning, which takes about 5 seconds per tooth and gets about 90% of the job done.

I've been doing it for 2 months almost every day now.

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-29T02:47:35.390Z · LW · GW

You can just say "non-binary people" or "agender people." In any case, binary and non-binary are the types you are talking about.

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-28T18:21:50.327Z · LW · GW

Incidentally, are there separate words for 'non gender identifying transgender' and 'trapped in the wrong body transgender'?

I think what you are going for is non-binary/agender trans people vs. binary trans people.

But, I'm not sure which distinction you're talking about. There are people who fit the classic "trapped in the wrong body," who have a clear idea of what body parts they would/wouldn't like (which could be anything from having a penis and breasts to no genitalia at all). There are other people who are completely fine with their physical body but are uncomfortable with the idea of identifying with the gender they were assigned at birth.

If you're talking about that distinction, then people in the second category don't necessarily identify as agender or non-binary, and people in the first category don't always identify as a binary gender.

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-27T19:26:23.205Z · LW · GW

Sure, that path seems possible as well.

I would say that since transgender people are much more depressed, presumably due to being trapped in the wrong body (which, as we both mentioned, doesn't apply to all trans people) then GID is a mental illness because it causes depression and suffering.

Although some of the depression could be caused by that, it seems pretty likely that a large portion of it could also because by being treated by society as a gender they aren't, as well as more targeted transphobia. GLB people also have much higher rates of depression, which is probably for that reason and not some third link.

Furthermore, I think we need to go back to diseased thinking about diseases. When we call something a mental illness, it's because we are trying to treat it in some way, or alleviate the effects. This is not something we want to do with trans people, the effects that we're talking about are all other mental illnesses that we do want to treat the symptoms of.

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-27T19:10:26.900Z · LW · GW

I've been using this benzol peroxide wash.

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-27T19:09:03.886Z · LW · GW

I am also a massive fan of Lyx.

I'm only an undergrad physics major, but I'm in 2 classes where I have to submit moderately high level reports, and I'm working on a thesis. And I've only ever had to use one special format, which also happened to be the default format.

So far, I've found documentation to be eh, but I haven't had too many problems where that was an issue yet. The biggest problem is that my knowledge of LaTeX is sorely lacking because I've been using Lyx for everything!

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-26T18:38:56.909Z · LW · GW

Natural experiments: I've been trying a new acne wash for the past 6 months, and although I felt like it was working, I wasn't sure. Then, the other day when I was applying it to my back, my partner noticed there was an area I wasn't reaching. In fact, there was an entire line on my back where I wasn't stretching enough to get the wash on. This line coincided exactly with a line of acne, while the rest of my back was clear.

Now I know the wash works for me.


Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-26T18:32:24.541Z · LW · GW

This entirely depends on which path the causality takes.

Trans folks are much more depressed and tend to have much higher levels of mental illness than the general population.*

Obviously, experiences are different for different people. But most trans people experience extreme discomfort in the gender roles they are expected to perform and have some form of gender dysphoria. I would expect these things to be present regardless if they knew that the label "trans" exists. If this is the reason for the higher rates of mental illness, then encouraging awareness of what trans is will let people do things to help fix some of these issues.

However, if the causal path is that people become aware of the idea of being trans, then realize that they do not fit the gender they were assigned at birth, leading to higher rates of mental illness, that would be a different issue.

Anecdotally, almost all the trans people I know have the experience of learning what being trans is, then having an "Oh! That's I'm feeling" moment. This would be evidence for the first method.

(Side note: The term most trans people use is transgender rather than transexual, because it is the gender that is different. On a similar note, most trans people do not have the surgeries you were talking about.) *I am not counting gender identity disorder as a mental illness, both because I don't think it should be classified that way and because this statement would be pointless if I did.

Comment by falenas108 on Productivity poll: how frequently do you think you *should* check email? · 2015-01-12T04:43:04.846Z · LW · GW

On Friday, I sent 13 emails and received about 40. 10 of those 13 were responses to others. Many of these were planning meetings or events where faster responses meant more got done today. This was not particularly unusual for a weekday. A couple of these were ones where we proceeded to have a conversation. I am a college student, but I am the leader of a couple groups on campus and heavily involved in a few more.

In my case, where about 1/4th of the emails I get need a response, I would say my current method of having a small pop-up come when I get an email works pretty well.

The once a day method works for people who don't need to respond, or response time is less important. But that's not true for everyone.

Comment by falenas108 on Negative polyamory outcomes? · 2015-01-08T01:25:12.166Z · LW · GW

Positive experience:

I've been poly for 3 years, had 10+ poly relationships, and while all but 4 have ended problems caused by polyamory has never been the cause. I'm currently in a triad for 9 months, been with one of the people in the triad for almost a year, and have been in another relationship for a bit over a year. Polyamory has literally never been anything more than a tiny issue in my current relationships, and only once was it ever anything close to a serious issue.

Comment by falenas108 on Negative polyamory outcomes? · 2015-01-08T01:18:50.855Z · LW · GW

There was definitely something Eliezer said about bisexuality being strictly superior because then you would just be attracted to more people. I was 16 and straight when I read that, and I wanted to be bi since then. Then, about 3 years ago, I became* bi.

*It's weird, but there was a definite point where I started being attracted to more than one gender.

Comment by falenas108 on 2014 Survey Results · 2015-01-07T14:14:16.828Z · LW · GW

I agree, but at the time I posted this blacktrance had yet to make their post.

Comment by falenas108 on 2014 Survey Results · 2015-01-04T16:20:54.798Z · LW · GW

Huh? This is worded as a question about orientation rather than practice, so people who have an orientation have an orientation, no? Or is the issue something else?

People can be asexual but, say, homoromantic.

Comment by falenas108 on 2014 Survey Results · 2015-01-04T16:20:12.991Z · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure it's more than just that, a lot of feminist ideas are about helping typically underprivileged communities. I've seen a lot of stuff on feminist areas about helping the poor and the undocumented as an extension of that.

Comment by falenas108 on Irrationalism on Campus? · 2014-11-20T21:42:26.311Z · LW · GW

Sorry, I meant social justice types, as in those identifying with the social justice movement.

And sorry about the general lack of clarity, my mind's been feeling weird today. Basically, that the author is making it seem like people are making a big deal of out little issues, and I was trying to say that regardless of how severe you think these incidents are, there are probably worse ones that the author is ignoring.

Comment by falenas108 on Irrationalism on Campus? · 2014-11-20T21:38:22.736Z · LW · GW

My other response is that it's not that this type of thing is suppressing free speech, it's trading off between two groups feeling comfortable participating in a particular environment. Let's look at the incidents in this article where there was a censorship of free speech:

The professor refused to allow a student to capitalize words in their dissertation paper, citing the Chicago Manual of Style. The students preferred APA, but the professor would not let them use the style they prefer.

Similarly, a TA says they aren't allowed to comment on correcting grammar.

The author of the article commenting over and over on "poor" writing style.

Protesting a t-shirt that pictured a professor who created a theory that states that students who get in on affirmative action are not as good of a match for the college, because they wouldn't have been admitted otherwise.

In many of thees situations, there are two groups where free speech is a concern: Academic groups trying to enforce a certain style of writing, and students trying to write in the way they feel expresses themselves the best.

At best, this is a conflict of different group's ability to speak freely. At worst, it's a continuation of the idea that writing in a style of a non-white cultures is somehow worse or less professional.

The only other thing was the T-shirt. To students who are affected by AA, that teacher was basically saying "you don't belong here." Obviously, that was not the intent of people who were wearing the t-shirts. And I am not sure how I feel on the overall reaction to this, but it is definitely understandable that affected students would feel uncomfortable by seeing a t-shirt with this guy's face on it.

Comment by falenas108 on Irrationalism on Campus? · 2014-11-20T20:19:28.954Z · LW · GW

TW rape threats, racism.

I have two responses, but I'm separating them because they are two entirely different issues. The first is that I think the article is misrepresenting the background of racism in UCLA in this article.

I'm a UChicago undergrad. In the past few years:

People put up a confederate flag in the window of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

People dressed up as a 'cholo' getting beaten up by a police officer for Halloween.

A group called the UChicago Electronic Army took over the website of an entirely unrelated group and threatened to rape an individual as well as telling people that they will "rape harder to show the class of 2016 who is boss."

The same group hacked into a person's facebook account who was speaking up against the Halloween costume, using slurs and threatening rape against another person. This was in response to a plan to show up to a study area and protest for 7 minutes. (

And these are just the ones that were big enough that I found out about it. Until the most recent incident happened, the University had not taken action or even said anything about any of these incidents. In the most recent one, people went to the media and 41 teachers sent a petition to the university to condemn these instances and make it clear that these issues would not be tolerated.

This article is construing actions taken to be issues SJ types are complaining about to be ones that are not serious or concerning, but it feels to me like they are cherry picking these examples while leaving out the more serious ones.

(It is possible that the ones outlined in the article are the only ones in the recent history of UCLA, and there is not a broader scope of racist actions that is being left out. But I place a pretty low prior on that being the case.)

Comment by falenas108 on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-28T15:03:09.459Z · LW · GW

I keep finding the statistic that "one pint of donated blood can save up to 3 lives!" But I can't find the average number of lives saved from donating blood. Does anyone know/is able to find?

Comment by falenas108 on [Link] Forty Days · 2014-10-03T18:40:26.297Z · LW · GW

Probably not that difficult, if someone really wanted to. I don't think there's a standard everyone uses.

Comment by falenas108 on [Link] Forty Days · 2014-10-02T15:33:23.108Z · LW · GW

I did not say that this difference made it the wrong policy, merely that it's something to keep in mind and that you shouldn't consider the cases of syphilis and AIDS to be entirely analogous.