Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016 · 2016-04-21T02:14:34.230Z · LW · GW

Not recognizing what the rules are or not understanding why they exist could be more easily confused with non-conformity, while recognizing the rules but failing to apply them is more apparently incompetent. Volitional non-conformity requires understanding of the rules and the ability to apply them, and it's not entirely obvious what constitutes understanding in this highly subjective matter. The aspect of opting in/out of acquiring the skills needed for conformity complicates things further.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016 · 2016-04-21T01:43:57.905Z · LW · GW

Lots of late night computer screen time? That blue light is messing with sleep cycles. I used to think I'm a night owl myself but can adjust my sleep schedule at will if I just mind the lighting. These days I wake up at 2-4am.

Curiously all males in my family used to be late sleepers when young but effortlessly switched to rising early when their careers kicked off. They didn't have computers back then so maybe it was their social lives keeping them up late.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 14 - Dec. 20, 2015 · 2015-12-22T11:15:03.512Z · LW · GW

the question under discussion here is what actually is the placebo effect and how much of it can you attribute to psychosomatic factors and how much to just regression to the mean (aka natural healing).

In that case your opener is slightly polemical :)

But that doesn't mean that we couldn't or shouldn't ask questions about the placebo effect itself.

Agreed. The problem with nonintervention arms for studying the placebo effect is that there aren't clear incentives for adding them and they cost statistical power.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 14 - Dec. 20, 2015 · 2015-12-19T04:19:02.060Z · LW · GW

The placebo group is called such because it receives the placebo treatment, not because medical researchers think all improvement in it is attributable to the placebo effect. Results are reported as improvement in the treatment arm vs. the placebo arm, and never have I seen these differences explicitly reported as treatment effect vs. placebo effect, and I've read hundreds of medical papers. The real magnitude of the placebo effect is almost never of interest in these papers. Some professionals in the medical community could have such a misconception because of the usual lack of scientific training, but I'd like to think they are a small minority.

If the placebo effect is of real importance, I think a more significant problem would be the lack of use of active placebos that mimick side effects since most drugs have them and this is a potential source of breaking the blinding of RCTs.

Comment by hyporational on Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015) · 2015-09-14T16:44:57.962Z · LW · GW

Whatever the terminology, they should make the connection between the process of decision making and the science of decision making, which they don't seem to do. Medicine is like this isolated bubble where every insight must come from the medical community itself.

I found overcoming bias and became a rationalist during med school. Finding the blog was purely accidental, although I recognized the need for understanding my thinking, so I'm not sure what form this need would have taken given a slightly different circumstance.

Comment by hyporational on Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015) · 2015-09-14T16:39:41.905Z · LW · GW

We were taught bayes in the form of predictive values, but this was pretty cursory. Challenging the medical professors' competence publicly isn't a smart move careerwise, unless they happen to be exceptionally rational and principled, unfortunately. There's a time to shut up and multiply, and a time to bend to the will of the elders :)

Comment by hyporational on Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015) · 2015-09-14T16:13:19.539Z · LW · GW

Huh. My experience is somewhat similar to yours in the sense that I never was a big fan of memorization, and I'm glad that I could outsource some parts of the process to Anki. I also seem to outperform my peers in complex situations where ready made decision algorithms are not available, and outperformed them in the few courses in medschool that were not heavy on memorization. The complex situations obviously don't benefit from bayes too much, but they benefit from understanding the relevant cognitive biases.

The medical degree is a financial jackpot here in Finland, since I was actually paid for studying, and landed in one of the top 3 best paying professions in the country straight out of medschool. Money attracts every type, and the selection process doesn't especially favor rationalists, who happen to be rare. It just baffles me how the need for rationality doesn't become self evident for med students in the process of becoming a doctor, not to mention after that.

Comment by hyporational on Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015) · 2015-09-14T02:51:47.772Z · LW · GW

Welcome! I'm an MD and haven't yet figured out why there are so few of us here, given the importance of rationality for medical decision making. It's interesting that at least in my country there is zero training in cognitive biases in the curriculum.

Comment by hyporational on A list of apps that are useful to me. (And other phone details) · 2015-08-24T17:42:23.916Z · LW · GW

You know what's sad? It seems the support was discontinued a year ago. I never noticed because it still works just fine, syncs the annotated pdf files to dropbox and all that, and still seems to be the best pdf reader there is.

Found and apk that seems legit, I'll pm the link to you, try at your own risk.

Comment by hyporational on A list of apps that are useful to me. (And other phone details) · 2015-08-22T18:27:42.505Z · LW · GW

More apps for Android (5.0.2):

Alarm clock plus - probably the most feature rich alarm bell app. It allows for multiple alarms on different days with different tones, alarm labels, gently rising alarm, quick to set one time alarms and alarms that won't stop unless you solve a math problem which is useful for deep sleepers.

Clockwork Tomato - a fully customizable pomodoro timer.

Darker - pretty much the same as Night Mode, except that it also allows for color adjustment. Unfortunately Android doesn't seem to support dimming certain wavelengths and the color is just slapped over everything (the strength is adjustable), so the contrast isn't that great.

I think what sets the above mentioned ES File Explorer above others is the integrated networking capability, you can use cloud storage, FTP and LAN sharing with the same app.

FBReader with TTS Plugin - listen to .epub and .mobi formatted ebooks.

Libra - weight tracking with charts, weight loss goal tracking, statistics on weight change and excess/shortage of calories.

Pocket - put articles you find during browsing to a safe place for later reading. It has a browser extension on PC for Firefox and Chrome and sync capability. Also, it has a page flipping mode that allows reading articles as if you were reading an ebook, and inverted color rendering for night time reading.

Repligo PDF Reader - I think I've tried every pdf reader there is on Android, and this is the only one that can both reliably reflow text for easier readability and has inverted rendering. Also has a text-to-speech option.

Rittr Labs Push Ups, Sit Ups, Pull Ups and Squats - All of the four apps are separate but I haven't found a better app for automatically generated calisthenics workouts. These calculate the first workout sets based on your max repetitions and the next workout based on how people usually progress, which is further adjusted by telling the program whether the workout was too hard, just right or too easy. I'd recommend you give at least a day or two for recovery between workouts, for example have a different workout for each day with a four day rotation.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 27 - Aug 02, 2015 · 2015-08-21T15:57:11.033Z · LW · GW

Did they work? Did you try any other solutions?

Comment by hyporational on [Link] First almost fully-formed human [foetus] brain grown in lab, researchers claim · 2015-08-21T15:38:46.712Z · LW · GW

I wasn't sure if we were metaphorically talking about the foetus brain in question or a hypothetical human that's fully grown in an isolation tank. If we were talking about the former, we seem to have a fundamentally different set of ethics. With your clarification I assume we're talking about the latter, in which case I agree with you.

Saying that an undeveloped foetus brain isn't thinking because it hasn't received sensory stimuli is a different argument than saying that a fully grown brain can't think because it hasn't received sensory stimuli.

Comment by hyporational on [Link] First almost fully-formed human [foetus] brain grown in lab, researchers claim · 2015-08-20T06:35:46.025Z · LW · GW

How is it a bad argument?

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 27 - Aug 02, 2015 · 2015-08-06T10:55:10.429Z · LW · GW

Caynax hourly chime and Mindfulness bell on Android

Comment by hyporational on Hand vs. Fingers · 2015-07-24T03:13:20.645Z · LW · GW

Actually when I first responded to you I was thinking about biology, psychology and such as the higher level. In this case the claim seems to make sense. However, if I understood EHeller correctly, this doesn't hold water inside the realm of modern physics. Besides, we can in principle never know if we're at the lowest level.

Comment by hyporational on Hand vs. Fingers · 2015-07-23T19:43:18.899Z · LW · GW

I think I'm the one communicating poorly since it seems I understood your first explanation, thanks for making it sure anyways and thanks for the link!

When I was wondering about successful predictions in particle physics, I was in particular thinking about Higgs boson. We needed to build a massive "microscope" to detect it, yet could predict its existence four decades ago with much lower energy scale equipment, right?

Comment by hyporational on Hand vs. Fingers · 2015-07-23T08:01:35.590Z · LW · GW

Thanks, my reality got just a bit weirder. It's almost as if someone set up a convenient playground for us, but that must be my apophenia speaking. If there are infinite possibilities of lower level theories, are successful predictions in particle physics just a matter of parsimony? Is there profuse survival bias when it comes to hyping successful predictions?

Comment by hyporational on Hand vs. Fingers · 2015-07-23T07:00:15.095Z · LW · GW

The whole point of the renormalization group is that lower level models aren't more accurate, the lower level effects average out.

I tried to read about RG but it went way over my head. Is the universe in principle inexplicable by lower level theories alone according to modern physics? Doesn't "averaging out" lose information? Are different levels of abstraction considered equally real by RG? Does this question even matter or is it in the realm of unobservables in the vein of Copenhagen vs MW interpretation?

Comment by hyporational on Hand vs. Fingers · 2015-07-22T23:20:15.117Z · LW · GW

EDIT: this is now pretty much retracted, see the following thread.

If the reductionist thesis is "we use multi-level models for computational reasons, but physical reality has only a single level", then what kind of evidence could support it against the thesis "we use multi-level models for computational reasons AND physical reality has multiple levels?"

Lower level models are more accurate than abstract models, and you can observe the consequences of this on multiple levels of abstraction. Therefore if physical reality has multiple levels then they must be incompatible and parallel in a very peculiar way. This makes the idea more complex and therefore less probable than the reductionist thesis.

Tabooing reality might make things a bit clearer.

Comment by hyporational on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-20T12:16:19.811Z · LW · GW

True. Since people are so irrational, not to mention inconsistent and slow, it might be one of the most difficult problems of FAI. The whole concept of consent in the presence of a much more powerful mind seems pretty shaky.

Comment by hyporational on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-20T11:49:01.941Z · LW · GW

Our stated preferences are predictably limited and often untrue accounts what actually constitutes our well-being and our utility to those around us. I'm not sure I want to wake up to a god psychologically incompetent enough to revive people based on weighing wishes greatly. If there are resource constraints which I highly doubt it's especially important to make decisions based on reliable data.

When I say something like "if it were free and you knew it would work would you sign up?" some people have said "no", or even "of course not."

I think this much more likely reflects the dynamics of the discussion, the perceived unlikelihood of the hypothetical and the badness of death than actual preferences. If the hypothetical is improbable enough, changing your mind only has the cost of losing social status and whatever comforting lies you have learned to keep death off your mind and not much upside to talk about.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-20T08:51:45.072Z · LW · GW

Thanks for informing about the typo. LW doesn't understand brackets in links, had to put a backlash in the closing bracket and embed the link in the text to get a working link.

Words can be very tricky. If you want to learn a more general lesson of where that mistake might have come from, you might find this series of posts interesting.

Comment by hyporational on An overall schema for the friendly AI problems: self-referential convergence criteria · 2015-07-17T05:52:08.955Z · LW · GW

If there are mistakes made or the environment requires adaptation, a sufficiently flexible intelligence can mediate the selection pressure.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-16T22:43:20.287Z · LW · GW

That's really not what is meant by framing) in this context.

Comment by hyporational on Recommended Reading for Evolution? · 2015-07-15T21:09:31.659Z · LW · GW

My training is in engineering/programming, and my genetics knowledge doesn't much exceed anything taught at the high school level. I am, however, prepared to read college-level textbooks on the subject.

We read this in med school, a bit too wordy for my taste but easy to understand.

I am very interested in how evolution started [...] How did evolution work in the beginning?

Nobody knows for sure. The primordial soup is just an educated guess based on the fact that complex molecules had to arise from simpler ones. This paper focuses on the evolution of multicellularity and briefly references other necessary milestones in early evolution.

Comment by hyporational on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-15T20:49:24.031Z · LW · GW

A god smart enough to know what's good for us is smart enough not to need a prayer to be summoned.

Comment by hyporational on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-07-15T20:40:45.677Z · LW · GW

It's a mistake, it should say higher.

Comment by hyporational on Recommended Reading for Evolution? · 2015-07-15T19:06:26.563Z · LW · GW

I assume that by evolution you mean biological evolution specifically, since the general mechanics of any evolution can be accurately described in a few sentences after reading The Selfish Gene. People here could probably write a program in a couple of lines of code that fits the bill.

If you want to simulate biological evolution, the simplest form of it would be in the realm of bacteria, and I'd search books about bacteriology and bacterial evolution. Any introductory text in cell biology will describe how genes are copied and expressed and how mutations work. I predict you'll be painfully surprised by the complexity of the specifics.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-15T18:27:40.367Z · LW · GW

If you let money decide or do tests you lose the statistical benefits of randomization. I don't understand how you see no ethical problem in ignoring preferences or not matching best students with best schools, perhaps I misunderstand you.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-15T17:30:16.311Z · LW · GW

That deals with the costs but I doubt consent would be easy to obtain unless the schools are very uniform in quality/status and people don't have preferences about which languages to learn, hence the possible problem with ethics. Schools have preferences too, quality schools want quality students.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-15T09:19:21.498Z · LW · GW

Quality observational research is probably very difficult to do since you can't properly control for indirect cognitive benefits you get from learning a second language and I'd take any results with a grain of salt. You also can't properly control for confounding factors e.g. reasons for learning a second language. I think you'd need experimental research with randomization to several languages and this would be very costly and possibly inethical to set up.

I have without a question gotten a huge boost from learning English since there aren't enough texts in my native language about psychology, cognitive science and medicine that happen to be my main interests. My native language also lacks the vocabulary to deal with those subjects efficiently. I have also learned several memory techniques and done cognitive tests and training solely because of being fluent in English.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Jul. 13 - Jul. 19, 2015 · 2015-07-13T08:46:09.928Z · LW · GW

So I just want to say it is sort of odd, estrogen does not represent cultural femininity nearly as well as testosterone represents cultural masculinity.

I think there's some form of the mind projection fallacy going on here. I think the oddness is a result of expectations based on the principles of culture, instead of the principles of biology.

Any good articles or books or personal opinions that shed some light on this?

Introductory texts on cell biology.

Comment by hyporational on Stupid Questions July 2015 · 2015-07-04T19:02:33.195Z · LW · GW

What are you trying to do when you "meditate"?

If by meditation you mean concentrating on the breath and observing whatever sensations arise, when boredom strikes you could try concentrating your attention on the sensations of boredom until it goes away, then returning to breath. Same trick works great with physical pain or itching.

Comment by hyporational on Parenting Technique: Increase Your Child’s Working Memory · 2015-07-01T14:24:17.792Z · LW · GW

How much of the research is done on children? Did you train children?

Comment by hyporational on Parenting Technique: Increase Your Child’s Working Memory · 2015-07-01T14:19:50.253Z · LW · GW

Much of the effect you attribute to training is likely just maturation of the brain. There's going to be a lot of natural improvement in cognitive functions until your son reaches his 20s. Can't see harm in the exercises though, and I think you can assume by default that training will improve at least the specific functions trained.

Comment by hyporational on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-07-01T13:59:06.730Z · LW · GW

That was a wonderfully clear introduction! I'd definitely want to see more posts on sleep since I think it's one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of optimizing cognitive performance.

I second Mirzhan_Irkegulov's disinterest in polyphasic sleep though, at least until several lower hanging fruits have been picked. Polyphasic sleep is likely to be excessively difficult to maintain by most people, even if it were a viable alternative. Since sleep is enormously important as you stated and likely interesting as it is to many people, your posts will have a greater positive impact if you explore the less niche venues first.

Most people in society follow the same sleeping patterns so I can't see why disabling circadian control at will would be extremely useful unless you do shift work or have to socialize at nights. Could expand on that? I think it's much easier to not get sleep deprived in the first place. Problems of shift work are increasingly mitigated by the internet as work is computerized and thus can be done by people on the sunny side of the planet while you sleep.

Suggestions for subtopics based on my personal interest

  • alcohol, nicotine, caffeine
  • exercise and its timing, nutrition and its timing
  • chronological age
  • optimizing artificial lighting and the bedroom
  • z-drugs and their dangers
  • melatonin, mirtazapine, mianserin, quetiapine
  • stress, depression, anxiety
  • effects of antidepressants on sleep structure

If you need help with article paywalls PM me and I'll see what I can do.

Comment by hyporational on Maybe we can perform the "Mary's Room" thought experiment · 2015-04-16T02:15:38.683Z · LW · GW

Why is the experience of color not physical knowledge? Why is Mary's experience of learning the science physical? What would the science of color vision look like if nobody experienced color?

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Apr. 06 - Apr. 12, 2015 · 2015-04-10T11:33:33.240Z · LW · GW

But I did not think cold/flu virus comes from the hand, I thought it only works with droplet infection from the air, such as people sneezing.


You can use normal saline and oil sprays to get your nose clean so you don't have to pick it. Or pick it with a clean tissue.

I doubt drug allergies and environmental allergies correlate in a meaningful way.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Apr. 06 - Apr. 12, 2015 · 2015-04-09T17:31:26.324Z · LW · GW

Nobody runs clinical trials to show that the cup of salts has ideal properties.

Nasal irrigation seems to have been pretty successfully commercialized, so I suppose you could commercialize heated salt and run trials with some inventive marketing.

Comment by hyporational on Efficient Food · 2015-04-09T17:21:11.323Z · LW · GW

The pre-packaged food in grocery stores has to be preserved somehow, perhaps most importantly with excess salt, which often makes it pretty unhealthy. Fresh made food also tastes better.

Comment by hyporational on Open Thread, Apr. 06 - Apr. 12, 2015 · 2015-04-09T16:56:38.429Z · LW · GW

Don't get it in the first place. Take care of good hand hygiene and don't pick your nose or rub your eyes and watch where you put your hands in public places. Don't get sleep deprived or stressed and don't exercise excessively so that you don't compromise your immune system. Avoid people who you know are sick, avoid shaking hands or wash your hands afterwards. If you get a cold very frequently or it is always prolonged despite of taking precautions check for asthma and allergic rhinitis and get those treated.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-27T03:28:46.197Z · LW · GW

When I'm in love, my thoughts are obsessed with the person and other thoughts are put aside. My thinking is distorted by baseless optimism. I fail to notice flaws in them I would notice with a sober mind, and when I do notice flaws I accept flaws I wouldn't normally accept. Since being in love feels so good, much of my thinking is dedicated to reinforcing my feelings through imagining situations with the person when they're not around and of course nothing in those situations ever goes wrong. This creates unrealistic expectations. I plan my life with them optimistically way further than I would plan my life in any other regard. I can't properly analyze my mental state while being in love, since analytical thinking would likely end it and that's the last thing I want.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-27T03:06:52.966Z · LW · GW

I was thinking about removing the comment because it wasn't clear to me what you were referring to. I think having strong feelings for other people while ignoring how they feel about you is generally a waste of resources.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-26T05:17:58.873Z · LW · GW

Why is it sometimes feelings of love instead of friendship.

Could be just context and interpretation, which do make the psychological reality of the situation different.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-26T05:01:55.521Z · LW · GW

I don't know if being "in love" is a thing that actually exists

What do you mean? There's a word called love and there's a reality that people refer to with the word. Words are replaceable.

I'd like to know if it corresponds to an internal state that I have experienced.

The problem is the same hormonal process doesn't necessarily feel exactly the same in everyone's body. I think it would be more reliable to inspect your thoughts and your behavior towards the person and compare them to other people in love.

In particular, how does romantic love differ from friendship?

That's like asking how hot differs from cold, perhaps equally inexplicable, if you're asking about being in love. If you would've experienced it, you'd know. More reasonable people look mainly for friendship in their life partners and therefore might use the words love and friendship interchangeably. They probably wouldn't talk about being in love however.

As a data point I've been in love several times, also reciprocically. It hasn't made me happier on the whole, since the state makes me short sighted and neglect more lasting sources of happiness, and therefore I'm not seeking it anymore.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-26T04:24:56.426Z · LW · GW

When I am in such a state, the feelings of the other towards me are fairly irrelevant to my feelings towards her.

I think people learn to regulate themselves when they realize how self-defeating this is. I know I did. The key to self-regulation is stopping the process in it's infancy. This applies to other feelings too.

Comment by hyporational on Stupid Questions December 2014 · 2014-12-23T17:08:27.817Z · LW · GW

The standard quick-and-dirty method of predicting others seems to be "model them as slightly modified versions of you"

It certainly doesn't feel that way to me, but I might have inherited some autistic characteristics since there are a couple of autistic people in my extended family. Now that I've worked with people more, it's more like I have several basic models of people like "rational", "emotional", "aggressive", "submissive", "assertive", "polite", "stupid", "smart", and then modify those first impressions according to additional information.

I definitely try not to model other people based on my own preferences since they're pretty unusual, and I hate it when other people try to model me based on their own preferences especially if they're emotional and extroverted. I find that kind of empathy very limited, and these days I think I can model a wider variety of people than many natural extroverts can, in the limited types of situations where I need to.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-23T16:44:10.297Z · LW · GW

I'd be more interested in behavioral changes in the mice. For some reason not all people with tiny hippocampuses or generally atrophied brains have problems with memory (or mood), and we still can't reliably diagnose progressive memory disorders, or many other neurological disorders for that matter, via brain scans alone.

Comment by hyporational on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-23T16:16:35.389Z · LW · GW

The hippocampus is a relatively tiny structure in the human brain, and I would guess it's even proportionally smaller in the mouse brain. I doubt the corresponding decrease in cerebrospinal fluid volume would make any difference in function. There's already much more variation in cerebrospinal fluid volume in healthy humans than a 20% increase in hippocampal volume could account for.

Comment by hyporational on Stupid Questions December 2014 · 2014-12-22T12:20:48.892Z · LW · GW

Do you compare only the responses of the same person at different times

Yes. There's too much variation between persons. I also think there's variation between types of pain and variation depending on whether there are other symptoms. There are no objective specific referents but people who are in actual serious pain usually look like it, are tachycardic, hypertensive, aggressive, sweating, writhing or very still depending on what type of pain were talking about. Real pain is also aggravated by relevant manual examinations.