Comment by hermione on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-06-15T11:41:18.398Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I also suggest we try the "really getting Bayes" game. I'll bring the description and some items to use.

Comment by hermione on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-06-11T09:54:11.424Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Going to be my last meetup for the foreseeable future - which has got me thinking about what if anything we can do via email. Will come with some suggestions. Looking forward to it as always!

Comment by hermione on [Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings. · 2012-05-13T16:11:33.304Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I guess your mileage may vary

Now I think about it, I managed to read all the Narnia books without ever noticing the Christian undertones, so I'm probably not a good guide to these things

Comment by hermione on [Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings. · 2012-05-13T16:02:00.647Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I loved these books as an early teen:

Fantasy: The Hobbit (Film coming out in a few months). No hidden pro-science virtues but a lovely, funny book.

Adventure stories:

  1. Anything by Jules Verne e.g. Twenty thousand leagues under the sea. Fits into a science-as-exploration theme.
  2. Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World - a dinosaur book - or some Sherlock Holmes: speckled band, hound of the baskervilles...)
  3. Willard Price's adventure series (writing is a bit poor, but that's completely made up for by the exciting-ness and delightful descriptions of wild animals)


  1. John Wyndam (E.g Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids). She may find the post-apocalyptic themes a little distressing though, so that might be a 'for later'.
  2. Asimov, I Robot series
Comment by hermione on [Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings. · 2012-05-13T15:40:23.472Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Totally thirded. Great read with a likeable female protagonist and full of interesting ideas. Pullman has a strong anti-religion message (R.t. Gur yrnq punenpgref xvyy tbq gb chg uvz bhg bs uvf zvfrel) but that comes second to the art of story-telling and never feels forced.

Comment by hermione on On what rationality-related topic should I give a school presentation? · 2012-05-09T16:12:26.707Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I would call it "why we need classes in rebellion" or something (to get their attention) and then talk about the Milgram obedience experiment and Asch's conformity experiment. Two classic results that demonstrate the power of authority and peer pressure.

Then get your audience talking about how to foster independence without going too far in the other direction. E.g. teachers who nearly always teach the core curriculum, but once in a while throw out a huge whopper to test if you're paying attention. (This works btw. I had a history teacher who tested our credulity by telling us that the pseudo-documentary Punishment Park was real. I googled it and called him a liar next class, and he gave me an A. The vivid memory of being terrified but right was useful for a few years)

Comment by hermione on A Kick in the Rationals: What hurts you in your LessWrong Parts? · 2012-04-25T17:37:27.411Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. I have a tendency to treat the marathon like a sprint. Any plans for how to improve your pacing?

You've inspired me to come up with a mental list of "warning signs" that I should use as an indication I need to drop my hours for a while. (I'm thinking: skipping meals, drops in concentration and finding it harder to keep my temper).

Comment by hermione on A Kick in the Rationals: What hurts you in your LessWrong Parts? · 2012-04-25T13:58:08.035Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I know how you feel. I get so much stupider and sadder when I'm tired. Have you found any solutions? I've tried naps and mid-afternoon exercise and dietary changes. The only thing that's ever helped in the long term was giving up coffee 3 years ago - the crashes after the caffeine high were making everything so much worse. It took a lot of nail-biting but it was worth it.

On the plus side, at least you recognise its happening to you so you can try and make sure you don't make important decisions in this state.

Comment by hermione on Doing "Nothing" · 2012-03-31T11:21:58.361Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think "denying that anything changes" is one of the most common mistakes I make and notice other people making. I'm choosing between a few different jobs at the moment, and I notice I actually try to construct a vision of the world where I go off and do one for 2 years, then return and do the other. Its like I want to think current opportunities will always be open to me, so I don't have to make the painful trade-off.

Now I think about it, this "freeze the world" kind of thinking is also one of the things that makes me bad at chess. I don't think enough about what other people will do, only about my own cunning plotting.

Comment by hermione on People who "don't rationalize"? [Help Rationality Group figure it out] · 2012-03-12T22:18:33.793Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

yep, they were all valid examples of rationalisation

Comment by hermione on People who "don't rationalize"? [Help Rationality Group figure it out] · 2012-03-08T11:50:56.686Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"I'm trying to give up chocolate. Last weekend I saw a delicious cake and I found myself telling myself the only reason I wanted it was to boost my energy levels, hahaha you know the feeling, right?" If they didn't immediately chime in with examples I'd prompt them with "and you know, its not just food, I rationalise all the time" and ask them if they do as well.

Over than half of them immediately came up with their own diet-related rationalisations. Of the other 4 I had the "calling my mum" one above, a couple of people who said they often caught themselves coming up with reasons for why they weren't doing their work, and one "the dog wouldn't like to be taken for a walk in this cold weather".

The reason I mentioned guilt is that a few of them (I didn't count) explicitly used the word "guilty" (like, I'm too tired to work, so I don't have to feel guilty that I'm out drinking) and one person talked about trying to make himself feel better.

Comment by hermione on People who "don't rationalize"? [Help Rationality Group figure it out] · 2012-03-07T15:00:12.927Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

So, I asked some people as you suggested, but I didn't find anything as interesting as you. Over the last few days I've asked 10 people if they "rationalise", giving them just one example, and all of them have immediately understood and spontaneously come up with valid examples of themselves doing so.

Incidentally, I quite often catch myself rationalising, but I really doubt accosting strangers with odd questions would trigger that in me. I'm not sure what else to suggest. Perhaps asking them when they last felt guilty? From the examples the people I mentioned above came up with, guilt seems to be a very strong trigger of rationalisation. An example: "I forgot to call my Mum on her birthday but I told myself she was really busy with the rest of the family".

Comment by hermione on Meetup Tactics Open Thread · 2012-03-06T11:39:13.105Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for recommending this site. I found a quantified self meetup that looks interesting in itself and may possibly be a place to recruit for our fledgling rationality meetups in brussels

Comment by hermione on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-03-04T16:36:06.490Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hi Karl,

There are actually very few of us able to attend regularly. I was thinking it might be worth organising a more intensive "full day" event with a bunch of activities planned (e.g. which we could each prepare a session for or something), and that might be worth your while coming to. In fact, if you tell us what kind of meetup would make it worth your while coming, I for one would try to make that happen. (I really want to meet more LWers). Please PM me or Axel your email and we'll include you on the mailing list.

Comment by hermione on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-02-29T13:21:15.131Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

hah. Has anyone made any progress?

I was wondering if one could test group rationality by starting a conversation about something the group finds it hard to agree on. There are a few such topics here on LW and I'm sure there would be more if you added politics into the mix. The test would be so see whether the group could reach unanimity. I was thinking this might be a fun thing to try at the brussels meetups if they get going.

Comment by hermione on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-02-27T21:48:40.084Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

At the moment I'm looking for something that can be done with half a brain when busy, since the beeper study interrupts me a lot. Meditation in any form seems to require quite a big investment before it yields results.Thanks for the link, though

Comment by hermione on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-02-27T21:32:55.374Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. My problem seems to be along the lines of "well, I'm happy about x but simultaneously anxious about y and kind of stressed because I only just met my deadline for blah..., so what does that aggregate to?"

I'm not sure how increasing the scale would help with that, but I followed the link to the POMs stuff on your website, I reckon something similar could be a good solution, though probably with different moods.

Comment by hermione on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-02-27T21:10:52.048Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, thanks, that makes sense. But do you have any suggestions for indicators that would measure if I'm improving?

Comment by hermione on Draft of Muehlhauser & Salamon, 'Intelligence Explosion: Evidence and Import' · 2012-02-23T14:34:15.026Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I've never read an article about AI before this one. I feel qualified to comment because that places me squarely in your target audience for this piece. I found it to be an interesting introduction to the 3 questions you highlighted for discussion. I found the discussion of "friendly AI" particularly compelling/scary.

I do have a couple of comments on style that might be helpful:

  1. In the opening section, the three paragraphs on what you are not planning to do may be useful signaling for people who are fed up with some elements of the AI discourse. But as a newcomer, it made me feel as though you were on the defensive from the beginning. I also found parts of these paragraphs a bit confusing, in contrast to the rest of the article which is clearly aimed at newcomers. E.g. I don't know what a classical Von Neumann computing architecture is, or what it means that you aren't assuming the continuation of Moore's law.

  2. Section 1 ("from here to AI") is a good introduction to how to think about the tricky problem of 'when is it coming?'. But it wasn't clear to me how your conclusion that "there is a significant probability that AI will be created this century" follows from section 1. It might help if you were to spell out which of the seemingly difficult AI benchmarks have been reached (are these the Accelerators you discussed before?).

I hope this is useful

Comment by hermione on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-02-23T13:54:42.303Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Hi there. I'm Hermione (yes, really). I went to my first LW meetup recently and I'm now working on the Rationality Curriculum, so it feels like time to introduce myself and start getting involved in discussions.

There are a lot of things I'd be interested in talking about. I only found LW a couple of months ago so I'm trying to level up in rationality and work out how to teach others to do so at the same time. I'll probably be posting about this and asking for advice. Has anyone written about their experiences of reading the sequences for the first time? Should I try and absorb things really quickly, or is it better to take it slowly, and if so, what comes first? That kind of thing.

I've also been inspired by Alicorn's Luminosity sequence and have been piloting a beeper experiment, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi style. In order to understand myself and my moods better, I've been recording what I'm doing and how I feel at random times (3x/day). I'd like to improve the indicators I've been using. I struggle to get the right balance between quantitative (more analysable) and qualitative (more accurate). Any suggestions?

Finally, I'd really like to meet some more rationalists in person, so please PM me if you're in Brussels!