What would a zetetic explanation be for the rationality community? 2019-02-28T20:05:18.787Z · score: 13 (5 votes)
First steps of a rationality skill bootstrap 2019-02-20T00:57:41.661Z · score: 11 (8 votes)
Creating Space to Cultivate Skill 2017-10-13T15:51:11.448Z · score: 23 (7 votes)
Learnday 2017-10-09T19:15:07.080Z · score: 20 (7 votes)
Meetup : Sandy, UT—Altruism Discussion 2015-02-13T19:16:13.464Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : SLC, UT — January Meetup 2015-01-19T04:29:47.055Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Sandy, UT - Debugging 2014-12-16T19:42:07.249Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Salt Lake, UT: Lightning Talks 2014-07-27T02:44:35.598Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Salt Lake City, UT: Summer Solstice 2014 2014-06-18T05:30:08.776Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Salt Lake City, UT: Schelling Day 2014-03-10T12:38:14.723Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Salt Lake City UT — Open Possibilities and Improv Skills 2014-02-23T00:04:54.267Z · score: 0 (5 votes)
Meetup : Fall Equinox: Festival of Heroes 2013-08-29T01:59:51.042Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Love and Sex in Salt Lake City 2013-01-27T16:12:39.502Z · score: 19 (21 votes)
Meetup : Salt Lake City Monthly meetup 2012-11-15T00:46:31.702Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : SLC Meetup: Free Will, Minicamp Braindump, and Group Goals 2012-10-12T20:50:30.737Z · score: 3 (3 votes)
Meetup : SLC, UT: Free Will and Rationality Checklists 2012-08-25T04:29:45.793Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : Salt Lake City: The Really Getting Bayes Game 2012-07-02T03:56:20.818Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
Meetup : SLC Meetup: Social Hacking Presentation 2012-05-03T19:48:58.126Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Cataloging my skills - good idea? 2012-01-29T14:07:19.889Z · score: 7 (7 votes)


Comment by hamnox on [Spoilers] How did Voldemort learn the horcrux spell? · 2019-04-08T17:19:10.961Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The interdict of Merlin stops the indiscriminate spread of high level magic, for a definition of high-level that is relative to the learner. It is probably possible in principle to write down a series of hints that lead the reader to figure out enough of the concepts themselves that they can read the next level of hints. I expect lots of people *try* writing down their material and leaving such a trail of hints, and while it usually fails Riddle probably independently figured out enough stuff to bridge the gaps.

Comment by hamnox on What would a zetetic explanation be for the rationality community? · 2019-03-06T22:01:01.901Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

thing I started typing out:

A philosophy professor of Oxford University founded the Future of Humanity Institute to study what we can do now to ensure a long flourishing future. (Curiousity, what else did they do?) One of the effects this group had was to spin off (how?) a group-written blog,, dedicated to the general theme of how to move our beliefs closer to reality.

One writer, Eliezer Yudkowsky, worked on Artificial Intelligence and wanted to warn other people about dangers he'd realized could come from it. When he tried to talk about the dangers, he found that not only did people not know the dangers, they did not understand the ideas necessary to understand the explanation of the dangers. Before he could explain the ideas he thought were most important, he had to explain a lot of smaller ideas that built up to it.

Yudkowsky's writing covered a variety of topics, yet made them all come together to feel like part of the same deep philosophy in the spirit of becoming "less wrong" in one's understanding of reality. As his writing gained popularity, he moved it to a new blogging website,, which anybody could post to.

Almost everyone who participated in this community in the early days had read Eliezer's posts. Whether or not a person agreed with his ideas, his posts on various topics were iconic and precise; they became a common basis to start important conversations on. Other people's content filled gaps in and built on this common canon. People liked having this common basis enough to try to share it with people they knew in everyday life or preferentially talk with people who had already read it.

[Zet: THEN CFAR. THEN HPMOR... Or was it the other way around?]

some source here and here, I am so bad at not plagiarizing.

Comment by hamnox on If Rationality can be likened to a 'Martial Art', what would be the Forms? · 2019-02-06T22:01:53.182Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A thing I frequently do is literally just take an object and start observing things about it. Notice what I notice. Notice what conclusions I generate, what assumptions they're built off of, and what parts of my brain they come from. Notice interactions with other mental models, notice what hypotheses are testable.

Also try some kind of precision physical art, because the brain's primary job is and always will be moving your body. There's a lot of prior art in how to move your body better, and I would be surprised if fine-tuning that didn't translate at least a little bit into increased intellectual fitness.

(I should take my own advice, meh.)

Comment by hamnox on Open Thread September 2018 · 2018-09-03T00:50:47.287Z · score: 14 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Folk values -- the qualities of the "I love science" crowd as contrasted to the qualities of actual, exceptional scientists -- matter too. The common folk outnumber the epic heroes.

This holds true even if you believe that everyone can become an epic hero! People need to know, rather than guess and hope, that walking the path to becoming an epic hero might look and feel rather different than doing active epic heroing. In theory one ought to be able to derive the appropriate instrumental goals from the terminal goal, but in practice people very frequently mess this up.

The general crowd has a different job than the inner circle, and treating this difference as orthogonal propagates fewer errors than treating it as a matter of degree.

Folk rationality needs to strongly protect against infohazards until one gets a chance to develop less vulnerable internal habits. Folk rationality needs to celebrate successfully satisficing goals and identifying picas rather than going for hard optimization because amateur min-maxing just spawns Goodhart demons every which way. Folk rationality needs to prize keeping social commitments and good conflict mediation tools; it needs to honor social workers straightforwardly addressing social or resource problems. Folk rationality needs luminosity, and therapy. Folk rationality should also have civic duty of proactive personal data collection, cheering on replications, participating in RCTs, and not ghosting or lizardmanning surveys... because science needs to get done d'arvit.

Interested in cruxing

Comment by hamnox on Why I Don't Like Scotty Slate Star and His Codex and So Can You · 2018-09-01T15:15:24.003Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW
  • Will there be a recording or notes taken & posted somewhere?
  • Can there a phone or web presence option?
Comment by hamnox on Strategies of Personal Growth · 2018-08-09T23:12:54.838Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I like having these distinctions laid out to think about. While it's on my mind I'd like to share an extension of Brienne's quadrants I'd made in my own notes.

To "Easy vs. Difficult" and "Fast vs. Slow", I added a third dimension of "Hype vs. Signal". A grand epiphany can turn out to be insight porn. A long gruel to attain wizardry could be an investment scam. Bug patches can be surface-level fads. Tortoise skill practice might be lotus-eating distraction.

(I may have been a bit disillusioned with rationality lore at the time I named these. Because yes, it *was* demoralizing to get 2-3% returns when I expected bursts of 300%.)

A useful core can have many subtly-off instantiations. The expected signal-to-noise ratio matters, when you're figuring out where it makes sense to focus your efforts.

Comment by hamnox on Musings on LessWrong Peer Review · 2018-03-18T23:27:33.477Z · score: 24 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Thoughts on the unsuitability of adding more thresholds of quality control:

The idea of promoting things up a narrowing hierarchy falls into one's lap as an easy fix. It won't solve the problem, I think though, of how a good initial proposal of an idea just does not thrive on the same metrics as the write-up of common context needs to. A first draft is not just a shoddy version of a final draft; it actually does something different than the final copy. In the progression of idea generation to canon, someone has to do the transformation work. The same person could do it; general skill / ability over the whole progression exists and I genuinely hope we find a way to nurture it in people. I doubt the sense of counting on people's skill (and willingness) at each step being transferable.

Comment by hamnox on More Dakka · 2017-12-22T08:59:49.782Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

With melatonin, it's not anywhere as simple as "too strong" an effect. Melatonin is typically sold at high doses that don't really have the proper effect at all, which results in people deciding to increase the dose even more until they get a hard knockout effect which looks like the desired thing if you're desperate and squinting, but... no.

Comment by hamnox on Bay Solstice 2017: Thoughts · 2017-12-19T06:03:11.258Z · score: 15 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The point is to stop talking about words, and start talking about reality.

Comment by hamnox on Bay Solstice 2017: Thoughts · 2017-12-19T06:00:13.918Z · score: 17 (4 votes) · LW · GW
"maybe people flag when they disagree but don't get into a protracted conversation until afterwards."

yup that's what I meant

At the beginning, note specifically that we're doing the ritual thing, that we are telling stories/songs that are somewhat hacking our brains, that this only really works if you lean into it with your system 1, and that we're trying to do this wisely.
Yes, make it clear what's going to happen so people can opt in or out sanely.
Maybe encouage people to do some kind of "silent but visible disagreement" thing if they disagree (I'm not sure if this would work without ruining things)
Make a dedicated space for people afterwards to discuss / disagree / argue.

These all sound good

Comment by hamnox on Seeding a productive culture: a working hypothesis · 2017-12-19T04:47:48.119Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your lesswrong link is not a lesswrong link

Comment by hamnox on Bay Solstice 2017: Thoughts · 2017-12-19T04:40:32.132Z · score: 29 (7 votes) · LW · GW

This Solstice had me thinking on what I had imagined, when I first read about Solstice. When I was young and dreamed that we were going to Do This Rationally.

The organizers would have actual models about what brain buttons we were pushing to what effect—entangling the wellbeing effect of light with a specific narrative of human progress, evocative and non-representative stories, inducing existential fears and directing people to soothe them through social bonding with a particular crowd, deep rhythmic resonances that just hit straight to sys-1's sense of "really big", etc.—and share them ahead of time to enable informed consent.

The event would enshrine people's right and duty to conscientiously object at any point they feel the goals or epistemics have drifted in an undesirable direction:

  • put in anti-Asch-conformity plants
  • intentionally give up/change the most beloved part of the ritual from year to year to avoid status quo bias
  • give the audience 5 minutes to actually consider whether to do this thing or what they need to do instead
  • make a place for objectors to stand and be counted instead of silently bouncing out
    • invoke curiousity about (but do not demand on-the-spot justifications for) why.

This year was lovely performances, nice speeches, an interesting activity, a good evening of food and entertainment. But I did not get what I wanted.

I'm not sure how much of what I wanted is actually doable.

But when I hear loadbearing speeches lifted straight from the previous year's lineup—unchanged from the sequences, I wonder—have we learned anything new at all? I hear a tidy little myth like The Goddess of Everything Else and worry about false appearance of consensus.

I know the arc of Bay's Solstice has moved more towards emphasizing community than x-risk, yet I do not think we have changed our ritual tooling to match this shift. One or two extra interactions happened that day, but is the audience any more empowered to act as a community than it was before? How could we have reliably solved the Tarot Card problem? What conversations need to continue happening after Solstice and how will they happen?

It would be ludicrous to reinvent something of Solstice's magnitude every year. But where there's risk of your logistics and epistemics clashing, I think we should err more on the side of vastly simplifying events than on the side of sloppier epistemics.

I think next year I only want yin meditation, oaths sworn by candlelight, and a playlist of personally meaningful songs. Perhaps I'll do it with five friends and one lonely stranger.

Comment by hamnox on Creating Space to Cultivate Skill · 2017-12-01T20:21:39.535Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't want to bake the intended lesson into the practice; if I have to tell you what the moral of a story is then it's not doing a very good job of making its own point.

Comment by hamnox on Creating Space to Cultivate Skill · 2017-12-01T20:18:56.950Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's antagonistic to that end because a specific skill is the wrong case study.

I think by the time someone decides on a specific skill they can have already baked in really critical mistakes.

They aim for a goal that only vaguely fits what they really care about, so their clarity and motivation bleed out as they spend time on it. (I want to stop feeling like an imposter! Guitar players are objectively impressive, let's learn guitar!)

Or they fail to prioritize effectively, so open 50 projects and make scant progress in any of them.

Or they have a broken understanding of what learning looks like, so intentionally trying to learn mostly stifles the actual process of discovery and integration. (I must ace this course, or must memorize all the syntax and best practices, or must dive straight into complicated Real Project use.)

Or they forget to have a gears model of successfully acquiring the skill at all, and instead half-assedly hope it will fall out of the sky if they perform the right gestures. (If I give myself a few hours of exposure therapy to embarassedly dropping clubs, I'll learn to juggle right?)

The right class looks more like:

You feel like an imposter. All your successes are flukes and lightning won't strike twice, but on this day you're setting yourself up to replicate the conditions for success anyways. All your failures were inherent and inevitable, but on this day you're giving yourself a chance to notice small things that vary the experience.
YOU WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS! When you clean up the space and leave out only the things you need today, that's still a lot of things! When spending double
time on everything, you also wind up getting to fewer of them than you expected. After a dozen iterations of this you have probably gotten the hint that your calibration is off. There's obvious solution avenues you can try once you have a way to gauge the problem—hide everything by default, limit yourself to a few solid projects you pick every time, tighten your standards of picking, use a new selection strategy entirely, accept the bias and work around it.
You have cleared your desktop, physical and digital, and closed all your open tabs. You're working on this course for a half hour. Yay celebrate, maybe take a breather. You're going to work on this course for another half hour.
You've been going over syntax for 10 minutes. Wow this really sucks and you hate it. What could you do that would be more rewarding and still, in some sense, be equivalent to going over syntax for 10 minutes? Well... what was the important part here? Was it the specific information—can you read in a different way, switch up note-taking styles, make anki cards? Was it the reviewing—could you use different sources, prioritize different information, go over some other topic entirely? Was it understanding the language better—maybe you could go through a tutorial, or read source code, or mess around in a REPL instead.
After a couple dozen cases of beating your head against a big project plan you don't understand enough to work on, then being faced with the prospect of repeating the exercise knowing you still can't make progress, you start to appreciate the value of leveraging prior knowledge and performing small empirical experiments.
Your friends are raving about language X, so you read an intro on it. You read a different perspective. It does sound neat, and you've got time to mess around. You go through a basic project setup to get a feel for it. You set it up again and get slightly more comfortable. Maybe you end there, satisfied, and explore other things... maybe you want to try to do something a bit more complicated. Maybe you try and struggle at both attempts so you shift to reading docs or working from an example. You stay focused on specific actionable goals at every step, keeping in tune with they pan out.
You spend way too much time stuck on the task 'get rid of distractions' and don't get around to doing anything useful. Removing distractions takes unsustainable amounts of upfront energy, or there's a debilitating backlog of cleaning and organizing to get through. Of course this wasn't less true any other time that you needed to be free of distraction. So, you pick a standard to care about and painstakingly familiarize yourself with the actual costs and benefits of reaching it. Working through the backlog in pieces will just be what DoubleDay is for you until that's no longer your bottleneck.
You're totally in a half-ass, satisfice mindset about this problem. But you've already satisficed a nice environment and are making plausibly deniable dummy attempts regardless, so you could stand to occasionally throw in a sincere try. Do something that has a real chance of working whether or not it fits the narrative. No need for anyone to know your secret audacity.
Comment by hamnox on Examples of Mitigating Assumption Risk · 2017-11-30T03:36:48.630Z · score: 43 (16 votes) · LW · GW

The most commonsense example of making assumptions irrelevant I've heard of is from weapons safety: always act as if the gun is loaded.

See also

Comment by hamnox on [deleted post] 2017-10-28T06:32:24.523Z

Slack feels distinct from keeping a buffer—Black would definitely think of gathering extra resources to overdetermine their victory in a way that they might not think to in general take the less-than-maximal path towards accomplishing their stated goals. Gathering resources is just gathering resources.

I promote Red Slack. Break your chains, before they break you.

Comment by hamnox on [deleted post] 2017-10-27T16:53:23.445Z

Tracking helps avoid some bias.

If you forget that the data collection happens through selective action and the data's meaning is seen through a flawed lens, though, then your 'objective view' can wind up more sharply skewed than your vague gut feels.

Comment by hamnox on References & Resources for LessWrong · 2017-10-27T16:39:32.573Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Want to note: I noticed the category "memetic hazard" and started immediately skimming the page to find everything labeled as such. Something is wrong with my reasoning here—

It wasn't the worst impulse to follow after all, since the category means something like controversial or fictional. Except... "memetic hazard" is a meaningful warning. I would prefer it keeps its value as a signal.

Comment by hamnox on Instrumental Rationality: Postmortem · 2017-10-25T20:29:50.116Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

by definition didn't need what I was writing because I figured it out without it.

You could figure it out without it, but having the compiled notes of someone who's already done that search can still save you a decent amount of time. Having external confirmation that your vague inkling is on the right track also makes you faster to un-vague it.

Comment by hamnox on Beginners’ Meditation · 2017-10-15T14:02:07.939Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Which things are good signs?

Comment by hamnox on Creating Space to Cultivate Skill · 2017-10-14T00:00:57.151Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Really cleaning beats out covering up messes for sure!

I wouldn't want someone to think they have no options short of making the place spotless, though. That's the sort of thing that leads one to sit stressed out in the middle of a mess because they have no energy to clean, and have no energy to clean because they're in the middle of a stressful mess.

Comment by hamnox on Creating Space to Cultivate Skill · 2017-10-14T00:00:29.526Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for engaging!

I worry something got lost in translation, with the question about specific skills I'm working on.

This isn't a technique. It covers a whole day; the timer only gives a clear signal to yourself that "yes, the context has really changed and we're following different rules now".

You don't use it for building a particular skill. It specifically doesn't require skill goals to start with or end with. To the extent it is for something it's for learning how to balance diligence and adaptability.


You correctly doubt the value of deep diving to build a new skill. I agree that most people who offhandedly committed to a 10 hour block of deep work would end up staring at a wall and rage quit. I would not recommend that to anyone. I think people can often commit to doing one more of whatever they were already planning to do.

People will absorb new information when starting from what they know.

When they try something, notice what did or didn't work, then try again.

When they seek out multiple examples to generalize from.

When they split large skills into smaller actions, to work on independently or in new combinations.

When they've gotten good at taking (admittedly arbitrary) intentions to return to a task seriously, and can spend a couple of hours on a hard thing knowing they can trust themselves to spend another couple hours if that's what it takes to master it.

I'm betting it adds up.

Comment by hamnox on LesserWrong is now de facto the main site · 2017-10-13T06:24:16.093Z · score: 25 (8 votes) · LW · GW

To minimize damage, I think publish a clear interim policy on what to post here vs. there main or both or link from a discussion post.

It may not match the ideal policy, but creating common knowledge matters.

Comment by hamnox on Events section · 2017-10-13T06:14:11.531Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I second the temporary meetups post idea.

I'm interested in a similar 'Shortform section' post to see how people interact with the general idea

Comment by hamnox on The Typical Sex Life Fallacy · 2017-10-09T02:38:22.262Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That sounds like a great way to build a toxic, fear-filled society where everyone's judged behind closed doors for honest mistakes and small social slip-ups, and where anybody with anything approximating social anxiety has to just stay home entirely because who knows, if I ever think it's safe to offer an opinion and it turns out I was misreading things and overstepping my bounds, I'll be immediately rejected as a person and gossiped about in private.

In the case that you did not write this facetiously, I regret to inform you that some people already live in such a world.

I know Ozy hangs out in places at least adjacent to it.

Comment by hamnox on Productive Disagreement Practice Thread: Double Crux · 2017-10-02T22:42:44.729Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

15% disagree, would prefer to discuss in person

Comment by hamnox on Windows Resource Repository · 2017-10-02T22:38:46.154Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Repositories can become useful references, correct. This one feels oddly specified and I don't expect it to get many responses.

Comment by hamnox on Windows Resource Repository · 2017-10-02T22:36:04.300Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Howler Timer

Comment by hamnox on Windows Resource Repository · 2017-10-02T16:43:03.324Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't use Windows nowadays, and many of my crucial tricks are either browser extensions, web services, or hacked into my general dev setup.

Generally though? On every device or medium I try to have:

  • A timer that I can start the instant I recognize time-boxing myself might be helpful.

  • Unobtrusive note-taking/thinking space. I use notepad or nvim with markdown highlighting.

  • A random number generator (and/or list shuffler), to arbitrarily narrow decision spaces that are taking more effort to think about than they're worth.

In the long run, simple tools that do exactly what you tell them beat out complex gadgets that try to anticipate every use case. If you want a smart aid that can act precisely to cause good outcomes on your behalf, consider going out and making friends.

Comment by hamnox on Windows Resource Repository · 2017-10-02T16:20:09.153Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Better than password managers, I believe, are deterministic password generators (like pwm) secured with a strong passphrase. lahwran wrote a command-line aid for coming up with actually decent and secure passphrases. You'll want secure storage for modification details and one-off passwords, maybe a record of what sites you have accounts on, but just using a password manager doesn't mean you're using passwords intelligently.

Comment by hamnox on Prosocial manipulation · 2017-10-01T19:59:02.057Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A common positive connotation term for socially manipulative is "charming".

Comment by hamnox on Speed & Performance is our current top priority · 2017-09-29T22:05:14.569Z · score: 20 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that speed matters. Thank you for staying focused on the main experience of making and reading posts; content is the lifeblood of this site.

Comment by hamnox on [deleted post] 2017-09-28T18:38:11.679Z

I try to keep tallies of both wins and mistakes (and maybe a third tally for things I just found interesting), then keep an eye on my relative scores. I reset the counters once one hit ~25 and recalibrate their sensitivity so they're in range of feeling actionable.

Example: Playing frisbee, I'd keep track of throws that were good enough for the other person to catch (+) or ones they had to run for (-).
If numbers came too slowly I'd focus on smaller aspects like good form or trying out variations.
If everything counted up too quickly I'd focus on getting a whole sequence (run fast, catch smoothly, do a trick, throw straight) right.
If I was too skewed towards one side or the other, I could change focus on just one side or tighten the technicalities of what counted.

Comment by hamnox on Musings on Double Crux (and "Productive Disagreement") · 2017-09-28T17:49:58.386Z · score: 21 (9 votes) · LW · GW

whperson's comment touches on why examples are rarely publicized.

I watched Constantin's Double-Crux, and noticed that, no matter how much I identified with one participant or another, they were not representing me. They explored reciprocally and got to address concerns as they came up, while the audience gained information about them unilaterally. They could have changed each other's minds without ever coming near points I considered relevant. Double-crux mostly accrues benefits to individuals in subtle shifts, rather than to the public in discrete actionable updates.

A good double-crux can get intensely personal. Double-crux has an empirical advantage over scientific debate because it focuses on integrating real, existing perspectives instead of attempting to simultaneously construct and deconstruct a solid position. On the flip side, you have to deal with real perspectives, not coherent platforms. Double-crux only integrates those two perspectives, cracked and flawed as they are. It's not debate 2.0 and won't solve the same problems that arguments do.

Comment by hamnox on Stupid Questions - September 2017 · 2017-09-27T19:33:37.558Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What records of your childhood are you supposed to have as an adult?

Comment by hamnox on Why I am not a Quaker (even though it often seems as though I should be) · 2017-09-27T17:05:50.984Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As I read this, the Sword of Good screams in my head. I cannot think for the noise. Something must be done. I must do... something.

I am aware of steps I could take, that would fulfill parts of what is needed.

I could seek the right question to ask. Say it clearly and publicly enough to spark truly useful debate. Trust in our virtue and reason to converge on the right actions. It would not be enough.

I could start holding court with my closest friends. Build the charter of our greater values, and live them unflinchingly one evening at a time. It would not be enough.

I could set my ruthless ambition to tear down or force out the institutions I see standing in the way of progress. In the power void, other seeds would have a chance to grow. It would not be enough.

(This is my Lo Dayenu.)

What do I do?

Comment by hamnox on [deleted post] 2017-09-26T21:55:18.674Z

Note to readers: naively breaking your ability to be satisfied with incomplete answers may come with unwanted side effects.

If each truth is connected to many other truths, you can expect people frequently underestimate the value of knowing many or varied truths... But this does not guarantee that using your marginal effort on acquiring more knowledge will get you, personally, anywhere near a catalytic threshold of understanding. Especially if you're not even asking the right questions.

Comment by hamnox on Out to Get You · 2017-09-24T06:46:36.504Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I am really glad you posted this! It points at a precept of something I've been struggling to write about.

Meta: You've given simple, common phrases (get gone, get ready) specific, important meanings. To me, capitalizing your key terms created a sensation of quirky dialect more than it pointedly called to mind their contextual meaning (as quoting or underlining them might have).

Comment by hamnox on In Defense of Unreliability · 2017-09-22T22:49:08.700Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I will care if people flake on me at the last minute if I'm going out to meet them, because leaving the house is hard. If I can avoid that cost to myself by inviting them to my house or even a nearby cozy cafe, I'm all for making as many tentative plans as it takes.

Problems like Zvi's are why I want stronger schelling point meetups in the community. Rather than continue to make unreliable plans, make a solid plan that accounts for unreliability. Let there be a time and place where [things] will happen if they will and [other things] can happen if they won't.

Comment by hamnox on Background Reading: The Real Hufflepuff Sequence Was The Posts We Made Along The Way · 2017-04-27T19:27:27.361Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's a consistent epistemic failure that leads to throwing away millennia of instrumental optimization of group dynamics in favor of a clever idea that someone had last Thursday. The narrative of extreme individual improvement borders on insanity: you think you can land on a global optimum with 30 years of one-shot optimization?

Academia may have a better process, and individual intelligence may be more targeted, but natural + memetic selection has had a LOOOT more time and data to work with. We'll be much stronger for learning how to leverage already-existing processes than in learning how to reinvent the wheel really quickly.

Comment by hamnox on April '17 I Care About Thread · 2017-04-20T03:52:22.732Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Working out has been too troublesome for me, but I do like endorphin boosts. Who needs drugs when you can get your brain to drug you for you?

Anytime you're feeling down, just do some kinda movement until your muscles burn a little then stop. It takes like 10 seconds of arm flapping or 3 crunches.

You can do it multiple times a day and keep a running tally to build up the initial affordance.

Comment by hamnox on Straw Hufflepuffs and Lone Heroes · 2017-04-20T03:30:53.114Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's noticing that your movement is not made up of value-maximizing automatons. You cannot just put food, sleep, education in one end and get high-quality insights/altruism out the other. Individual variation is too great for standard wisdom to be useful.

Emotional labor is helping people be people; mapping their emotional/mental landscape, clearing out baggage, deciding what it is they want, enjoying what they have, smoothing out the ruffles when their idiosyncracies clash with someone else's. Some people can manage it on their own, or stumble on ways to be sustainably productive regardless of how okay they're doing internally. But most people benefit from a little assistance, especially when they hit negative spirals.

If no one does emotional labor, then your best workers are obsessives and manics. But helping people stay balanced frees up a lot of their effort for focusing on work. Feeling good makes them more generous with their effort as well.

(re: the 50s link It is true that emotional labor traditionally falls more on women. In a healthier reconstruction of the roles, men specialize in managing acute crises more than in keeping long-term balance. Big gestures instead of everyday ones.)

Comment by hamnox on What's up with Arbital? · 2017-04-17T19:58:27.077Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If a lot of people vote that two articles are linked, they become linked to each other. This will naturally form topic threading somewhere between between Wikipedia link diving and Tumblr reblogs.

Comment by hamnox on What's up with Arbital? · 2017-04-01T17:02:37.320Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I expect that micro-blogging will be an excellent combination with the arbital-style of voting on things. I especially think that you could get very good results from voting on per-post 'related links' submitted by users. Tumblr has reblogs for responding to things, but those naturally become mediated by viralness instead of internal coherence.

I can imagine a neural-activation-like effect coming out of that, where frequently co-active posts naturally rise to the top of each other's links and become threads or topics.

Are you planning anything like that?

Comment by hamnox on Fact Posts: How and Why · 2016-12-04T04:20:29.240Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I find myself very confused about how to tell which journals are reputable. Do you have a good heuristic (or list) for finding this out?

Comment by hamnox on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2016-07-14T04:26:48.546Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have unintentially been implementing something like this in anki.

Comment by hamnox on Why Don't Rationalists Win? · 2015-09-18T17:29:08.534Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Pretty sure inductive examples of intelligence fail because we really are pointing at different things when we say it.

Some mean "shows a statistically higher base rate for acquiring mental constructs (ideas, knowledge, skills)" when they say it. This usage tends to show up in people who think that model-building and explicit reasoning are the key to winning. They may try to tack this consideration onto their definition of intelligence in some way.

Some try to point at the specific differences in mental architecture they think cause people to use more or fewer mental constructs, like working memory or ability to abstract. This usage tends to show up in people who are trying to effect useful changes in how they or others think. They may notice that there's a lot of variation in which kind of mental constructs are used, and try to single out the combination that is most important to winning.

There's also the social stereotype of who has a preference for "doing" and experiencing vs. who is drawn to "thinking" and planning. People who think "doing" or having a well-integrated System 1 is the key to winning may favor this definition, since it neatly sidesteps away from the stupid argument over definitions the thinkers are having. I like to use it in conversations because it's loose enough to kinda encapsulate the other definitions — which role you think you fit is going to correlate with which you use more, which itself correlates with what your natural abilities lend themselves to. I'm less likely to talk past people that way..

But it's also because of this last interpretation that I point blank refuse to use intelligence as a synonym for rationality. The word 'rational' comes with just as many shades of denying emotion and trusting models over intuition, but they're at least framed as ignoring extraneous factors in the course of doing what you must.

Comment by hamnox on Autism, or early isolation? · 2015-06-22T21:13:52.876Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right.. Verbally was too narrow a term. The free hugs sticker seems perfectly in line, actually. If there's an explicit option to opt-in, then there's an implicit option to opt OUT. Just having the option to opt out that makes it feel a whole lot safer to let people into your personal space.

Some autistic conventions have gone with a system of colored badges: a green badge means that the person is actively seeking communication; they have trouble initiating, but want to be approached by people. A yellow badge means they might approach strangers to talk, but unless you have already met the person face-to-face, you should not approach them to talk. A red badge means that the person probably does not want to talk to anyone, or only wants to talk to a few people.

The quote about the hug is an exceedingly typical narrative, in the sense that it's a narrative written in a very typical way. There's no context for her boyfriend's mental state, what he was doing or what kind of day he's had so far. How do I describe how huge an oversight that is? The only comparison I can think of is to sex, because people acknowledge the way abusing such an intense experience can wreak havoc on your mind.

What if people around you thought it was normal and okay to force sex on you at any moment, and more so that you were being difficult or uncaring if you rejected a bit of harmless surprise sex? If every meeting might escalate too-much-too-fast, if you were left breathless and raw multiple times a day with no time to recuperate or make sense of it? It would be easy to decide that you point-blank hated sex. You know that your reactions are completely out of proportion by any normal standard, but the confusion and terror just keep building until you want nothing to do with sex. You make excuses where you can and think of England when you can't. You try to keep iron control over which people have sex with you and when. You find sexual variations to propose that you like better, or that at least trigger you less. You leave behind many sad, bewildered loved ones as you stumble your way through life.

You find others who seem unusually deliberate about sex also. When they talk about its many beneficial and underrated effects, it resonates with your subjective experience that sex is a powerful, intense thing. It occurs to you that you do share mostly the same brain chemistry as the rest of the human race, and there's a good chance that you will like and benefit from sex if you can break down your averse reaction to it. Might as well try it, eh?

Comment by hamnox on Autism, or early isolation? · 2015-06-21T17:41:25.716Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Touch sensitivity can vary. Having a sense of control and an amenable mental state can make significant difference. Being touched unexpectedly, especially when one is already overstimulated, can be horrendous. But while the intense blow-ups over innocuous unwanted sensations are most memorable, autists can have as many strong positive preferences as negative. If you're curious about touch at all, a lw meetup seems like a good place to explore on your own terms: it's got a norm of asking for touch verbally instead of by mysterious social cues (a chance to say no most casual touch doesn't give), explicit consensus on its purpose and meaning (because touch itself might be pleasant, no accidentally starting a mating ritual), and a built-in excuse for why you might find it uncomfortable and off-putting (it IS weird, by other social standards).

Comment by hamnox on Group Rationality Diary, March 22 to April 4 · 2015-04-16T23:50:29.883Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Things I've been up to:

Keeping a composition notebook as a lab notebook for life. The very first entry is "Keeping a Research Journal", where I'm recording metadata about this attempt and my self-confidence in doing important science subtasks before and after.

Most recently, I did some random-sampling with tagtime to help me locate convenient straps to bootstrap trigger-actions with. At each ping, I wrote down my current actions, what in my internal experience or environment triggered me to be doing that, and maybe a few things I thought I 'ought' to be working on instead. It was a more frequent sampling rate than I've ever done before (~10min between pings), and the most significant conclusion to pop out was that getting interrupted by random pings all the time really, really stressed me out. This highly skewed my samples towards anxious internet browsing.

Now I've got:

  • Think about opening social media -> open mood survey
  • Feel prideful -> reinforce the moment with msg to bf or tumblr
  • Feel bored -> put on some music (feeling 'bored' is the often the first sign that I'm about to go into overload)
  • Feel confused about next actions -> Take a walk outside
  • Notice it's after 10 am -> make tortilla toast (simple enough to make while starving, in case I forgot to eat)

I'm deliberately not adding things until I've got a firm handle on the composition and effects of my baseline habits. My history with self-improvement is a long sad tale of accidentally tearing apart vital building blocks to fuel the production of shiny paperweights.