Calibrating Adequate Food Consumption 2021-03-27T00:00:56.953Z
Gunnar_Zarncke's Shortform 2021-01-02T02:51:36.511Z
Linkpost: Choice Explains Positivity and Confirmation Bias 2020-10-01T21:46:46.289Z
Slatestarcodex Meetup Hamburg 2019-11-17 2019-10-27T22:29:27.835Z
Welcome to SSC Hamburg [Edit With Your Details] 2019-09-24T21:35:10.473Z
Slatestarcodex Meetup in Hamburg, Germany 2019-09-09T21:42:25.576Z
Percent reduction of gun-related deaths by color of gun. 2019-08-06T20:28:56.134Z
Open Thread April 2018 2018-04-06T21:02:38.311Z
Intercellular competition and the inevitability of multicellular aging 2017-11-04T12:32:54.879Z
Polling Thread October 2017 2017-10-07T21:32:00.810Z
[Slashdot] We're Not Living in a Computer Simulation, New Research Shows 2017-10-03T10:10:07.587Z
Interpreting Deep Neural Networks using Cognitive Psychology (DeepMind) 2017-07-10T21:09:51.777Z
Using Machine Learning to Explore Neural Network Architecture (Google Research Blog) 2017-06-29T20:42:00.214Z
Does your machine mind? Ethics and potential bias in the law of algorithms 2017-06-28T22:08:26.279Z
From data to decisions: Processing information, biases, and beliefs for improved management of natural resources and environments 2017-05-08T21:47:35.097Z
Introduction to Local Interpretable Model-Agnostic Explanations (LIME) 2017-02-09T08:29:40.668Z
Interview with Nassim Taleb 'Trump makes sense to a grocery store owner' 2017-02-08T21:52:21.606Z
Slate Star Codex Notes on the Asilomar Conference on Beneficial AI 2017-02-07T12:14:46.189Z
Polling Thread January 2017 2017-01-22T23:26:15.964Z
Could a Neuroscientist Understand a Microprocessor? 2017-01-20T12:40:04.553Z
Scott Adams mentions Prediction Markets and explains Cognitive Blindness bias 2016-12-20T21:23:33.468Z
Take the Rationality Test to determine your rational thinking style 2016-12-09T23:10:00.251Z
OpenAI releases Universe an interface between AI agents and the real world 2016-12-07T22:04:32.139Z
Slashdot: study Finds Little Lies Lead To Bigger Ones 2016-10-26T06:53:29.557Z
Scientists Create AI Program That Can Predict Human Rights Trials With 79 Percent Accuracy 2016-10-26T06:47:49.124Z
US tech giants found Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society to ensure AI is developed safely and ethically 2016-09-29T20:39:48.969Z
Open Thread May 23 - May 29, 2016 2016-05-22T21:11:56.868Z
Open Thread March 21 - March 27, 2016 2016-03-20T19:54:49.073Z
[Link] Using Stories to Teach Human Values to Artificial Agents 2016-02-21T20:07:47.994Z
Polling Thread January 2016 2016-01-03T17:43:17.911Z
Life Advice Repository 2015-10-18T12:08:04.730Z
Crazy Ideas Thread - October 2015 2015-10-06T22:38:06.480Z
Polling Thread - Tutorial 2015-10-01T21:47:38.805Z
Meetup : LessWrong Hamburg 2015 Q4 2015-09-22T20:54:35.430Z
Meetup : LessWrong Hamburg 2015-09-22T20:43:30.553Z
[Link] Marek Rosa: Announcing GoodAI 2015-09-14T21:48:15.364Z
Group rationality diary for July 12th - August 1st 2015 2015-07-26T23:31:05.196Z
LessWrong Hamburg Meetup July 2015 Summary 2015-07-18T23:13:20.023Z
List of Fully General Counterarguments 2015-07-18T21:49:41.608Z
Biases and Fallacies Game Cards 2015-07-15T08:19:35.453Z
Crazy Ideas Thread 2015-07-07T21:40:48.931Z
Meetup : LessWrong Hamburg 2015-06-25T23:40:50.966Z
[Link] Self-Representation in Girard’s System U 2015-06-18T23:22:21.142Z
[Link] Robots Program People 2015-06-15T08:42:11.732Z
European Community Weekend 2015 Impressions Thread 2015-06-14T20:21:05.673Z
Summary of my Participation in the Good Judgment Project 2015-06-03T21:51:07.821Z
[Link] Throwback Thursday: Are asteroids dangerous? 2015-05-23T08:00:24.415Z
[link] Bayesian inference with probabilistic population codes 2015-05-13T21:11:05.519Z
[Link] Death with Dignity by Scott Adams 2015-05-12T21:34:49.246Z
When does technological enhancement feel natural and acceptable? 2015-05-01T21:11:11.164Z


Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Josephine's Shortform · 2021-07-27T18:13:17.716Z · LW · GW

Reading this it seems your question was more about the second part of failing: When plan B (or C, or D) fail. Or how to reduce the likelihood that they do - or to have more realistic expectations about that.

I was once running out of options and falling back to plan C and D on a big life topic. It was related to joblessness. A previously existing plan B for such a situation had become unavailable for other reasons (also big ones but that did work out). I scrambled and got a good job offer and started to relax but they postponed the signing for weeks and weeks - while promising it would go thru. It worked out well but there was a point where I resigned and accepted a much lower economic level. Not too bad as Germany has a good safety net.

The level of the safety net depends very much on the country of course but the general pattern seems to be that few people will worry about other people's economic mishap. Many more ways lead down than up and you are left in the dark which ways lead to the good places.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Josephine's Shortform · 2021-07-27T07:21:44.170Z · LW · GW

Society would need to be different overall. Everybody is told that things and skills are more valuable than they actually are. If somebody believes this - as most people are inclined naturally - they will naturally fall into the traps you describe. Like you say cynism helps or growing up in a family that has overall more realistic views, or having other key persons (e.g. teachers) that help calibrate this right. Reading LessWrong probably also helps.  

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Fire Law Incentives · 2021-07-22T20:49:11.895Z · LW · GW

you mean like 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Happy paths and the planning fallacy · 2021-07-22T13:14:20.624Z · LW · GW

But be aware of Hofstadter's Law: 

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.[2]

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on My Marriage Vows · 2021-07-21T12:14:23.985Z · LW · GW

Your vows are very precise and specific and I think intended to be optimal in some sense. Which is cool. It may be that the real world with children and difficult times may make it difficult to even have time to think through all the vows at all times. I think you should have something that accounts for that. I'm not saying something like a buffer for errors but something that compensates for errors on the other side. I think the Vow of Good Faith is doing some work in that direction but it is focussing most on the intended purpose, not on the practicalities of the implementation. I think something like a Vow of Forgiving might be nice which heals any errors if the partner made remediation steps (this is hard to formalize though).

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Happy paths and the planning fallacy · 2021-07-19T19:23:21.906Z · LW · GW

About the business case with your boss: It might help to always make the distinction between the happy path and the committed case. And I wouldn't call it 'pessimistic' or 'realistic' or '99%' or so but rather something like 'committed' or 'qualified'. Qualified is good because it makes explicit that to get to such an estimate you need to add details. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The inescapability of knowledge · 2021-07-15T18:18:54.420Z · LW · GW

It is difficult to formalize. But I think your example is off. I didn't mean that we could infer from the video the positions of meerkats now. I meant that the representation encodes or correlates with the future positions (at least more than with the current positions). It is as if there was a video that showed the future meerkats' movements. That would be surprising to find in nature. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Bullwhip Effect · 2021-07-14T16:09:33.486Z · LW · GW

Most people are not like you. Try it out like this:

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Bullwhip Effect · 2021-07-14T07:28:02.642Z · LW · GW

Do you predict this or know from first-hand experience?

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The inescapability of knowledge · 2021-07-13T21:51:00.415Z · LW · GW

Reminds me of a discussion I once had about what is 'artificial'. After all we find a lot of things in nature that are constructed by non-humans. We settled on whether something is based on a representation of a future state. The future part is what is rarely found in nature. Most evolved processes are responsive. Only with nervous systems do you get learning and anticipation of states and then representation of that. I think it is the same here. Knowledge only counts if it entangled with future states. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Bullwhip Effect · 2021-07-13T21:43:43.180Z · LW · GW

There is a game that is used to teach students of supply chain logistics this intuitively. I have always wanted to try this out in an LW meetup:  

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Bragging Thread February 2015 · 2021-07-12T09:33:32.826Z · LW · GW
  • Square breathing. see e.g. here. I did read about it first in On Combat and it works well to reduce pulse levels. 
  • Breathing meditation from Vipassana, see e.g. here.
  • Consciously breathing thru the nose and diaphragmatic breathing   

PS. How did you find this old post?

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Improving capital gains taxes · 2021-07-09T17:44:34.047Z · LW · GW

For me, AstralCodexTen book review of Progress and Poverty made a convincing case that we should increase (or introduce where not present) land value tax. Every other tax just adds different types of dead weight loss. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on You are allowed to edit Wikipedia · 2021-07-06T18:00:27.212Z · LW · GW

I agree with all three points.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on You are allowed to edit Wikipedia · 2021-07-06T11:44:47.375Z · LW · GW

Yes, I know. From the talk page. The rules have been sharpened a bit since then. But there are borderline cases. My father-in-law was cited by peers - but how widely? It was in the news - but too regional ones. He originated a new art technique and created quite a body of published work (10000s of pages)- albeit in the form of book-on-demand which was not considered widely enough. There have been multiple exhibitions - even cited in the news, but not beyond Germany. It was grey.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on You are allowed to edit Wikipedia · 2021-07-06T08:54:37.677Z · LW · GW

I'm not a Wikipedia author. I have an account but I'm rarely logged in. But I have made quite a few edits in Wikipedia (mostly German but also English). Most minor, some bigger ones, and I have even created pages (four, one of which was deleted). My takeaway: 

  • Fixing minor typos is very easy and everybody is happy about it.
  • Adding references to well-known sources almost always works. I added links to Gallup polls to a page about the Trump presidency and it went thru fine. No politics issues.
  • Adding section with additional information will only go thru if you follow a lot of guidelines but if you are lucky someone will fix it up later.
  • Adding pages is possible but it has to be about something of general and wider interest. That depends on the subject. And it depends on the context. If there are already multiple missing links to that page it will be easy. If not less so. Knowing this, when I tried to add a page about an artist (my late father-in-law) I first created that context - the institutions he worked at. And then created the page with all the cross-links. The page was still deleted - albeit after some discussion with 3rd parties also arguing for it to stay. The institutions stayed and got more links over time though.

You can learn a lot from trying and from the discussions. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2021-06-25T16:31:21.879Z · LW · GW

Can't be so bad:

Macroscopic object (40kg) cooled to 77 nanokelvin:

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Apprentice Thread · 2021-06-21T08:59:45.374Z · LW · GW

I suggest that we have a call so you can figure out whether you generally agree with my model of child development and my approach to parenting. I guess that informs the resources recommended.   

Best time to have a call is after 9 PM CEST. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Apprentice Thread · 2021-06-17T22:07:16.339Z · LW · GW

[MENTOR] Parenting. Pragmatics of real-life parenting (four boys, the oldest now 17, the youngest 9) from crying in the night, changing diapers to troubles at school, and conflicts of interest. Also a lot of ideas about what goes on in their brains while they develop. We write a weekly development diary and over time you spot patterns. If you want to know my style you may have a look at some of the parenting posts I did here (and the comments in the other posts in that category). 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Apprentice Thread · 2021-06-17T21:55:48.949Z · LW · GW

[MENTOR] I can mentor on the technical and partly on the organizational side of bootstrapping businesses. I created the technical infrastructure of a fintech startup from scratch (I'm the CTO, we have ~50 employees right now, tripling every year). I have a systematic plan for what to do when in IT and a rough idea in all other areas. I understand that you know how to provision and deploy web services but you might want to have an idea of what else you need and in which order. 

About analyzing marked and demand I suggest you have a look at Paul Graham's Twitter. The main suggestions he comes back to being 

"Build something you yourself want" is to startups what "Write what you know" is to writing.


When startups think a partnership with some big company will be the silver bullet that makes them grow, they're usually mistaken. What makes you grow is building amazing things and making customers love you.

This is an instance of the more general rule that when startups think anything other than building great things and engaging with users will make them grow, they're usually mistaken. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on The Cult Deficit: Analysis and Speculation · 2021-06-13T16:48:34.949Z · LW · GW

I made a prediction/formulated a hypothesis very early into the post: 

The idea that you could intentionally create a cult was discovered early in the 20th century and many cults formed. The problems resulting from this type of social structure were discovered over time and people started to know about then and develop memetic antibodies (or what you want to call it). Thus creating cults became less promising/successful or other ways to be recognized as a cult were found/used.  

The post didn't make any significant points in this direction, thus I leave it here. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Alcohol, health, and the ruthless logic of the Asian flush · 2021-06-06T00:31:36.728Z · LW · GW


[It] is just a "nudge", which is often enough to prevent alcoholism from forming in the first place, but not strong enough to displace alcoholism once it's taken root.

then it would work best early on or in combination with someone helping you, e.g. your spouse

Some studies show great results for people who are married but not for single people.

Or your parent. Could parents give it to their teenagers before they go to a party: "You can go but take this pill first."

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on People who lie about how much they eat are jerks · 2021-06-04T15:48:37.716Z · LW · GW

Thank you for following up. 

I think your answer is somewhat orthogonal to the original post. Do you still think people lie about it? 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Selection Has A Quality Ceiling · 2021-06-03T08:52:11.833Z · LW · GW

I like that you are using math to model the problem but I think you have to argue a bit stronger on this assumption:

In practice, skills are not independent, but the correlation is weak enough that exponentials still kick in.

IQ is known to correlate significantly with all skills for example. And with N skills you have 2^N sets of skills that could be correlated with each other. I think you have to consider this to argue your point. Note that I think your point likely still holds.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Which animals can suffer? · 2021-06-02T20:02:22.776Z · LW · GW

Maybe. Chimps and gorillas for sure have some consciousness. They can recognize themselves and they have social cognition. They can express frustration. I am not sure they can represent frustration.

Though arguing about whether that is required to call it suffering is haggling over the definition of a word. I don't want to that. I want to defend the claim 

The ability to suffer is determined in an anthropocentric way.

We may disagree on where to draw a line or how to assign weight to what we call suffering but the key point is not about the is but about the ought. And at least the ought is anthropocentric: Whether some structure in nature ('suffering') compels us to act in a certain way to it ('minimize it') is a social construct. It results from empathy and social expectations that are generalized. 

Note that just saying this doesn't make it less so. I do have empathy with chimps and other animals. I would do (some) things to reduce it. For sure if everybody around me agrees that reducing suffering is the right thing to do I would take that as strong evidence in its favor. I'm just aware of it

PS. Thank you for continuing to discuss a controversial discussion.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Which animals can suffer? · 2021-06-02T12:33:31.058Z · LW · GW

For sure chimps perceive pain and avoid it. But there seem to be quite significant differences between pain and suffering. You mention this yourself:

It even disconnects from the sensation of pain: e.g. I suffer much less from painful experiences which I believe are healing compared to ones which I believe are harmful, even if the raw sensation feels the same. Another strange thing about suffering is that it increases the more attention I pay to a constant pain signal.

This and also my personal experience seems to imply that suffering (but not pain) depends on consciousness and maybe even social identity expectations.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Which animals can suffer? · 2021-06-01T20:37:30.703Z · LW · GW

Upvoted for being a great reply with opinion, argument, example, and context.

I disagree though. I think a functional approach is ultimately the most likely to be adopted in the long term - being the only feasible one. But I think the correct answer is

The ability to suffer is determined in an anthropocentric way.

There is no natural category of suffering outside of humans. And that mainly because what is meant by suffering is no longer just something that goes on in the brain but also to a significant degree a social construct. A linguistic concept and a political agenda. Probably we will factor it into multiple clearly defined sub-parts earlier or later. One of them being a functional part like Adele seems to mean. But at that point that cuts out most of what is actually going on.   

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on For Better Commenting, Take an Oath of Reply. · 2021-05-31T22:06:22.323Z · LW · GW

That depends on the expected number of trolls and I would assume some implicit disclaimers like '... this is intended to be understood charitably and not to the letter of it." One might want to make that explicit though and then refer to e.g. The Standard LW Oath of reply." Something like

My Oath of Reply is to respond to top-level comments at least once while there is an ongoing discussion [details to be defined]. I will likely pursue longer-form discussions. If commenters provide especially helpful feedback, I'll note it here along with an acknowledgement.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on For Better Commenting, Take an Oath of Reply. · 2021-05-31T22:01:21.528Z · LW · GW

General advice on dealing with difficult commitments: 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How counting neutrons explains nuclear waste · 2021-05-30T21:41:35.736Z · LW · GW

Misled by the title I was waiting for an estimation of how much waste would be created based on the number of neutrons created per energy produced. But I guess that is left as an exercise for the reader. Nonetheless a great post!

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Philip's Shortform · 2021-05-23T13:16:24.121Z · LW · GW

Not sure this is what you ask for but it seems relevant: What probability do people attach to likelihood adjectives?: 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-21T08:57:49.278Z · LW · GW

I guess in that case the extra canvas will rather distract you instead of helping. 

If your mind wanders I guess the lecture is not engaging you enough. Did you look into the Procrastination Equation?

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-21T08:54:06.314Z · LW · GW

I'm wondering if there could be a visual equivalent of the memory palace technique for note taking?

I think that would be worth exploring and might also explain why notes work for some people and not for others.  

I do not have a strong visual imagination but I am very good with concepts and abstract relationships. I often connect topics on paper, place text close to other, or use lines and circles to group things.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T23:50:05.651Z · LW · GW

I generally find note taking slowing me down in my thought process.

If your goal is to not get slowed down then you could try seeing the paper as a canvas you can use in any way - not just in a formal 'note taking' way. Add visual memory to your brain. A bit like talking out loud - use the air and the acoustic memory as memory aid. Or like a conversation where your partner bounces ideas back and thereby adds memory (albeit with a filter).   

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T15:05:34.552Z · LW · GW

I wrote a related comment in Paper Trauma:

I also have paper and pen with me all the time. A lot of people are trying to convince me to go digital - including my son - but I have yet to be convinced that there is a way to improve my workflow. Which is this:

  • take notes and sketches making use of however much paper is available and being creative in size, positioning and alignment of text. Quickly.
  • Clearly this doesn't digitize well. It will be ugly, hard to read and lack all the context that you have in your mind at that time. After all it is adding to your memory not replacing it.
  • So the obvious and necessary next step is to convert these notes into actually useful longer-term representations like diagrams, summaries, tasks in a task tracker, calendar entries,...


Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T15:01:05.099Z · LW · GW

OneNote is also good at this. though not as good as I need (e.g. I would want recognizing shapes). 

But my point is different: Digitizing quick notes leads to a very different workflow. It creates incentives to create notes of permanent type ("disk"). Creating these takes more effort and reduces your RAM instead of expanding it so to speak.    

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T12:47:52.808Z · LW · GW

I try to avoid reading non-fiction that doesn't change or has the potential to change my behavior.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-19T23:54:05.103Z · LW · GW

I prefer to takes notes on paper. All the time. Paper is immediate and always on. "But it is not digital!" they say. Doesn't matter. I don't use it like persistent memory - "disk" - but more like a RAM expansion for my brain. I have so bad - albeit fast - handwriting that I need to process it quickly anyway. And my process calls for that: I convert the notes into actionable and tangible outcomes quickly - and these are usually digital:

  • follow-up messages to other people
  • calendar invites
  • updates to documents/wiki pages
  • todo-list entries/tickets 
  • Anki cards

The latter is my way of ensuring long-term retention of new, relevant, or interesting concepts. I do not use Anki for memorizing facts but reminding me of concepts/habits/practices.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Deliberately Vague Language is Bullshit · 2021-05-15T20:29:46.745Z · LW · GW

There are a lot of cases where vague language is all you have. There is no way to be more precise. And if you are aware of that you will be deliberate about it. Thus I am unhappy with your choice. I think more accurate would have been to call it misleadingly vague langue - which makes it kind of trite/trivial.

In case it's not clear what I mean by vague language by need here are some examples:

  • You just don't know enough of the subject (yet). Being deliberate about it might mean that you are honest about that.
  • The audience is not familiar enough with the subject and the precise terminology. While I think this may be true in some circumstances I wouldn't say it's usually true with the media.
  • There is not enough precise terminology and knowledge about the subject at all. This is the case with all new knowledge at the beginning - sometimes even physics and math. It is toying around with ideas and analogies and seeing what sticks and works. This is the state still with quite a lot of the soft sciences. And that is OK. It is how over time we move from imprecise to precise definitions. Look at a lot of what Scott Alexander writes. While clearly, he tries to use as precise terms as he can a typical m.o. is to approach the topic from multiple sides and use multiple analogies and examples.   
Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Your Dog is Even Smarter Than You Think · 2021-05-05T19:53:03.445Z · LW · GW

It was not something I believed a dog could do.

Well, not every dog. There must be a billion dogs on this planet and this is probably one in the top 99.99 percentile.

That said I think it could still be a fluke. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Gunnar_Zarncke's Shortform · 2021-05-05T19:36:40.960Z · LW · GW

Philosophy with Children - In Other People's Shoes

"Assume you promised your aunt to play with your nieces while she goes shopping and your friend calls and invites you to something you'd really like to do. What do you do?"

This was the first question I asked my two oldest sons this evening as part of the bedtime ritual. I had read about Constructive Development Theory and wondered if and how well they could place themselves in other persons' shoes and what played a role in their decision. How they'd deal with it. A good occasion to have some philosophical talk. This is the (shortened) dialog that ensued:

The immediate answer by A: "I will watch after the girls."

Me: "Why?"

A: "Because I promised it."

B: "Does A also promise it and get a call?"

Me: "This is about your nieces and your friend, not about your brother."

B: "But I need this for my answer."

Me: "I don't see why, but OK, assume that he is not involved."

B: "Because I would ask him whether he might play with the girls in exchange for a favor."

Me: "OK, but please assume that he is away."

B: "Then I could ask my aunt whether somebody else can watch for the girls or whether I could do it together with my friend."

Me: "Please assume that she doesn't find somebody and that she doesn't want somebody she doesn't know in her house."

B: "Then I'd do it."

Me: "Why?"

B: "Because I promised it. I'd tell my friend that we can do it another time."

We had another scenario: "Imagine that you and a fellow pupil C are guests at a friend and having a meal. You know that C is from a family that is very strict about not eating a kind of food that you like very much. Would you advise C to eat it or not?"

A (quickly): "I'd advise to not eat it."

Me: "Why?"

A: "I like rules."

B (after some consideration): "I'd advise to follow their heart."

Me: "And if you were C?"

B: "I'd at least try a bit."

(this was followed with a discussion about possible long-term consequences)

For me, it was still not clear whether this implied whether he followed only his preferences considered this in the context of the rules in the family. So I proposed a setting where he had to imagine being in another country with different laws. We settled on a rule he accepts here (indemnification) but that was much harsher in the other country. He asked whether he had the same feelings as here which after some clarification I confirmed. He argued that he wouldn't like the rule in the other country because it set questionable incentives: "If the punishment is that strong that tells people that it is OK to punish equally strong normally."

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Gunnar_Zarncke's Shortform · 2021-05-05T19:34:01.544Z · LW · GW

Philosophy with Children - Mental Images 

One time my oldest son asked me to test his imagination. Apparently, he had played around with it and wanted some outside input to learn more about what he could do. We had talked about before and I knew that he could picture moving scenes composed of known images. So I suggested

  • a five with green white stripes - diagonally. That took some time - apparently, the green was difficult for some reason, he had to converge there from black via dark-green
  • three mice
  • three mice, one yellow, one red, and one green
  • the three colored mice running behind each other in circles (all no problem)
  • he himself
  • he himself in a mirror looking from behind (no problem)
  • two almost parallel mirrors with him in between (he claimed to see his image infinitely repeated; I think he just recalled such an experiment we did another time).
  • a street corner with him on the one side and a bike leaning on the other wall with the handlebar facing the corner and with a bicycle bell on the left side such that he cannot see the bike.
  • dito with him looking into a mirror held before him so he can see the bike behind the corner.

The latter took quite some time, partly because he had to assign colors and such so that he could fully picture this and then the image in the mirror. I checked by asking where the handlebar is and the bell. I had significant difficulties imagining this and correctly place the bell. I noticed that it is easier to just see the bell once the image in the mirror has gained enough detail (the walls before and behind me, the corner, the bike leaning on the corner, the handlebar).

I also asked for a square circle which got the immediate reply that it is logically impossible.

If you have difficulties doing these (are judge them trivial): This is one area where human experience varies a lot. So this is not intended to provide a reference point in ability but an approach to teach human difference, reflection and yes also practice imagination - a useful tool if you have it. If not you might be interested in what universal human experiences are you missing without realizing it.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on People who lie about how much they eat are jerks · 2021-05-05T19:07:24.706Z · LW · GW

What are your thoughts on this 5 years later?

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Wuwei · 2021-05-02T09:01:25.673Z · LW · GW

This reminds me of 

Keep Your Identity Small from Paul Graham.

Which incidentally also seems to match the translation you gave: Don't take on a role. Or don't be bound by the role you (identity) take on. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Can you improve IQ by practicing IQ tests? · 2021-04-27T16:38:26.138Z · LW · GW

Well, IQ tests used to be common in assessment centers. I haven't heard about this being still used but if so studying for the test would make sense.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-04-27T16:21:55.661Z · LW · GW

The one thing in Scott's post I never heared of before was Oroxylum: 

You can find a lot of claims about the multitude of beneficial effects online. One serious study has

Key findings: ... The crude extracts and their isolates exhibit a wide spectrum of in vitro and in vivo pharmacological activities involving antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anticancer, anti-ulcer, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, antidiarrheal and antioxidant activities. Flavonoids are the major constituents of all parts of the plant. From a toxicity perspective, only aqueous and ethanolic extracts of stem bark, root bark and fruits have been assessed and found to be safe. The major flavonoids of the stem bark, such as baicalein, chrysin and oroxylin A, were reported for the first time as natural flavonoids with potent inhibitory activity against endoprotease enzymes and proprotein convertases, which play a key role in the growth of cancer and in viral and bacterial infections.


Pretty impressive. If only it was clear how to exactly dose and use this.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Iterated Trust Kickstarters · 2021-04-26T22:42:16.538Z · LW · GW

I also use meta frequently. I think it is part of some sub-cultures LW in particular (meta is even a signal in Automoderation). I just want to understand when it is going to work and when not. 

I like the suggestion that meta and ITK are some kind of opposites.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on deluks917's Shortform · 2021-04-26T16:50:11.710Z · LW · GW

Because what they do or believed to do - gaming and social - is seen as idling/sloth.

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-21T06:34:59.454Z · LW · GW

Overall, this sounds a lot like flu side-effects:,failure%2C%20asthma%2C%20or%20diabetes. 

I'm not saying "it's the flu". I'm saying that if Covid becomes another flu-like childhood disease, as Scott Alexander predicts, then we should expect comparable long-term effects. The question might be how much that changes the baseline of such conditions overall. 

Comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Y Couchinator · 2021-04-21T06:22:52.477Z · LW · GW

Three years later: How did this work out? Should it be repeated?