What can we learn from Microsoft's Tay, its inflammatory tweets, and its shutdown? 2016-03-26T03:41:09.876Z · score: 1 (6 votes)
After Go, what games should be next for DeepMind? 2016-03-10T20:49:06.507Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
What is the future of nootropic drugs? Why can't there be ones more effective than ones that have existed for 15+ years? 2016-03-06T18:45:06.910Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Are conferences an inefficient/terrible discussion forum (in addition to academic papers)? 2015-06-04T19:14:03.165Z · score: 4 (7 votes)
Psychological validity of the "Seven deadly sins"? 2015-03-17T01:25:44.742Z · score: 3 (9 votes)
How do you approach the problem of social discovery? 2014-04-21T21:05:18.890Z · score: 18 (19 votes)
[LINK] What’s New? Exuberance for Novelty Has Benefits 2012-02-17T15:12:36.684Z · score: -1 (12 votes)
What are some cool things a LWer can do at Yale, Brown, and UChicago? 2012-02-05T05:00:29.170Z · score: 3 (10 votes)
[LINK] How a Computer Game is Reinventing the Science of Expertise 2011-12-05T05:06:22.186Z · score: 15 (18 votes)
[POLL] LessWrong group on 2011-11-29T01:22:07.828Z · score: 33 (36 votes)
What are some good survey questions on a rationality website (like Gene Expression)? Razib would like some input 2011-07-14T22:12:10.060Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
What are some inspiring biographies of people for us LessWrong types? 2011-07-13T20:25:11.381Z · score: 0 (5 votes)
Can cryonically-frozen people *really* expect to be revived? 2011-07-08T23:27:05.843Z · score: 0 (14 votes)
What are LessWrong's thoughts on Venkatesh Rao, Gregory Rader, and Daniel Lemire? 2011-07-03T23:00:28.606Z · score: 8 (14 votes)
Finally just created comprehensive resource collections/guides for autodidactism/several scientific subjects 2011-06-26T20:47:29.620Z · score: 3 (6 votes)
Leslie Valiant discusses the the "probably approximately correct," or PAC, model of machine learning. 2011-06-25T10:27:18.053Z · score: 4 (7 votes)
Being a lab rat for phase I trials for extended-release versions of drugs that are already well-known - a potential windfall financial opportunity for rationalists? 2011-06-23T00:12:15.952Z · score: 7 (12 votes)
Mentoring as an alternative to having children? 2011-06-22T23:04:53.861Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
What are the best news sources to read for *insightful* discussions? 2011-06-19T08:28:25.260Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
"The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good", 80/20 Rule, INTPish, and Rationality 2011-06-18T07:41:32.241Z · score: 0 (3 votes)
How exactly do you deal with irrational reactions to insects and spiders? 2011-06-16T02:01:38.735Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Should a rationalist be concerned about habitat loss/biodiversity loss? 2011-06-03T12:25:27.635Z · score: 6 (13 votes)
How exactly do you convince people that "experts" aren't the best people to consult? 2011-06-02T16:24:14.154Z · score: -2 (15 votes)
Peter Thiel announces the 20 talented people he will pay to drop out of college to pursue innovative scientific and technical projects 2011-05-25T20:08:55.418Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Is there an optimal function for belief calibration over time? 2011-04-27T08:46:16.731Z · score: -6 (9 votes)
When is it ever rational to enter a sweepstakes where you may have a 1/10,000 chance of winning? 2011-04-13T06:43:59.373Z · score: 0 (9 votes)
How would you respond to the Philpapers "What are your Philosophical Positions" Survey? 2011-04-11T00:40:54.267Z · score: 11 (13 votes)
Do meetups really have to go on the front page? 2011-04-11T00:24:03.033Z · score: 28 (37 votes)
Mistakes and Rationality 2011-02-28T00:27:24.541Z · score: 2 (7 votes)
Age, fluid intelligence, and intelligent posts 2011-02-20T09:06:50.393Z · score: 9 (12 votes)
Link: Edge: THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2011: “What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit? ( 2011-01-15T23:05:17.734Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Why is consistency often considered to be an intellectual virtue? 2011-01-15T23:03:14.552Z · score: 0 (3 votes)
Is there a way to quantify the relationship between Person1's Map and Person2's Map? 2011-01-09T01:14:36.898Z · score: 1 (4 votes)
The order of learning things (general to specific vs. specific to general) 2011-01-08T21:19:16.706Z · score: -2 (3 votes)
The "map" and "territory" analogy as it pertains to potentially novel territories that people may not anticipate 2011-01-07T09:19:45.969Z · score: 0 (5 votes)
Sociopathy and Rationality 2011-01-07T07:24:15.679Z · score: 9 (16 votes)
How do you accept others even when they're so irrational? 2011-01-06T22:45:10.830Z · score: 6 (11 votes)
Is it "bad" to make fun of people/laugh at their weaknesses? 2010-12-29T03:52:55.984Z · score: 0 (13 votes)
Where are other places to meet rationality-minded people? 2010-11-30T09:55:27.904Z · score: 6 (9 votes)
Individuals angry with humanity as a possible existential risk? 2010-11-29T09:13:54.335Z · score: 4 (10 votes)
Depression and Rationality 2010-11-24T08:03:48.409Z · score: 4 (7 votes)
Rationality and being child-free 2010-11-20T02:12:03.269Z · score: 13 (17 votes)
IQ Scores Fail to Predict Academic Performance in Children With Autism 2010-11-18T03:34:12.148Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
Hi - I'm new here - some questions 2010-11-14T04:11:06.176Z · score: 7 (8 votes)


Comment by inquilinekea on The Case Against Education · 2018-04-16T03:24:10.350Z · score: 14 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I know. I still feel psychologically wrecked/burned by it all and afraid to be proud of expressing myself (my strengths and weaknesses), and still overly judged by other people's notion of what it means to make proper progress. It defines and tracks *everyone*, it limits our social circles (and confines us to permanent bubbles), and it makes us feel guilty over doing anything that's different. I frequently feel like I'm on the defensive. I wish I could have a childhood I was fully proud of - that I want to show off to the rest of the world (and create value for others), but it has all been destroyed by my desire to please others. I also wish I could have an Internet history I was fully proud of.. rather than one I'm defensive about..

And because of the system, I still feel constantly on the defensive for justifying my current life path.

People should be proud of what they learn - they should want to show it off to the rest of the world, rather than throw all their assignments away. They should also be proud of how they're unique/different from others (including their weaknesses that *others* can fill them up in), especially if they process the world in a weird/neurodivergent way (and can't necessarily learn the same way that others do) or if they work best in a "support role" who make smart people feel comfortable. They should be unashamed of showing how they might be wrong (and how their thinking can be fixed in the future). They overrate independence and ability to be seen as "better than others".

And they should take advantage of their comparative strengths when their neuroplasticity/fluid intelligence is at its *highest*, and receive feedback from older people who actually have experience interacting with the rest of the world (rather than in their own bubbles)

BTW - I took a unique extreme in going for maximizing my own knowledge rather than optimizing for the meta-game of figuring out what knowledge I should learn and what knowledge is best left in the heads of others (and I seem to have better memory for knowledge in the heads of others than most people do).

Comment by inquilinekea on Rationality Games & Apps Brainstorming · 2017-07-04T16:44:58.616Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Recording the set of one's past games would help a lot with relieving the availability heuristic.

Comment by inquilinekea on tDCS, Neuroscientists' Open Letter To DIY Brain Hackers · 2016-07-13T23:35:02.702Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone know if these tradeoffs occur in organic brain variation between people? It almost seems that the g-factor is so strong as to overwhelm these tradeoffs without tDCS...

Comment by inquilinekea on Emotional Involvement · 2016-07-05T21:21:58.154Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Now with people posting more of their gaming online, many of their gaming experiences don't necessarily go away once they quit the game. In fact, how one plays video games says a lot about one's personality.

I still stay emotionally involved with some of my old AOE2 games many years later (because I record them all), and I still sometimes reel over certain really irrational decisions I made in them.

Comment by inquilinekea on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2016-07-05T17:34:22.374Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Stream it on YouTube/Twitch.

Comment by inquilinekea on Rationalist sites worth archiving? · 2015-09-17T18:59:00.838Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone know if one could convince the Archive Team to archive them? Or does the Archive Team often consist of more difficult personalities?

Comment by inquilinekea on Open thread, Aug. 17 - Aug. 23, 2015 · 2015-08-22T19:52:48.365Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Could producerism also be a major issue in East Asia?

Comment by inquilinekea on LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015 · 2015-07-21T00:43:52.206Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can play

Comment by inquilinekea on Beyond Statistics 101 · 2015-06-28T19:42:29.596Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(before people's social behavior had seemed like a complicated blur because I saw so many variables without having started to correctly identify the latent ones).

Interesting - what are some examples of the latent ones?

Comment by inquilinekea on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-21T21:14:30.198Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It didn't occur to me how significant this was. The number of hours that I had is perhaps as small as the number of hours that most people have by age 10. In hindsight it's obvious: of course I didn't have good social skills relative to other adults, in the same way that a 10 year old doesn't have good social skills for an adult. I just hadn't put nearly enough time in!

Just out of curiosity - do you think that all other people who put massive amounts of time into socializing get benefits that are proportionate to the amount of time put in? From our point of view, most people spend incredibly high amounts of time socializing, but does this make each and every one of them socially savvy to the same extent?

Also, what do you think of ?

Comment by inquilinekea on An alarming fact about the anti-aging community · 2015-02-16T22:46:42.784Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What about something like this? . I'm not sure if they'd store the samples at a timescale long enough to be relevant though (aka, 4+ decades).

How important is it, though, that the cells be your own cells? In several decades, we may have even better tools to deal with the transplant rejection that stems from regenerated organs with different genomic material.


FWIW here is a relevant article:

Comment by inquilinekea on LINK: Blood from youth keeps you young · 2014-08-18T02:17:15.143Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it's a growth factor. Even IGF1 and growth hormone can rejuvenate old tissue, but they don't make one age any more slowly (though they can make one more robust up to the end).

Do you think that growth factors like these can accelerate aging in the end though? Reductions in growth factor signalling are often associated with increases in longevity, especially since many growth factors increase mTOR signalling (which often results in lowered rates of protein autophagy). I'm not sure how GDF11 would impact mTOR signalling though.


Edit: Or is it really a growth factor? says that it's a growth differentiation factor.. And that it negatively regulates neurogenesis.. Hmm..

Comment by inquilinekea on [Open Thread] Stupid Questions (2014-02-17) · 2014-08-18T00:49:02.193Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What about the wood frog?

Comment by inquilinekea on How do you approach the problem of social discovery? · 2014-05-06T03:43:02.207Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hm - thanks for the feedback. I've decided to edit my answers to think them out more (so that they're hopefully more convincing - though they might not be convincing yet). Of course - this is not the goal of rationality. I've just realized that some of my past rationalizations suck.

I am very well aware that people generally suck at evaluating themselves (especially given sunk costs and post hoc rationalizations). But I emphatically assign an extremely high probability to getting AoK as being one of the best decisions of my life ever (some of the other things I've bulleted though - I actually assign lower probabilities to).

Comment by inquilinekea on How do you approach the problem of social discovery? · 2014-04-22T01:02:09.194Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Oh yes - definitely! I think the San Francisco Bay Area is best (public transport is amazing, the culture is amazing, there are lots of smart students from Stanford/Berkeley, and people are very tech-oriented).

The Boston area is probably second best, probably followed by NYC. Beyond that, it's harder to find people for social discovery.

Comment by inquilinekea on Increasing the pool of people with outstanding accomplishments · 2014-03-29T07:04:51.255Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In general, however, at a young age foundational skills and opening their minds are more important than any particular direction (though a particular cause/direction can be very motivating). Show people who think academics or hard sciences are the obvious path that all sorts of "soft skills" are actually very valuable even in their presumptive careers, but can also open their eyes to other paths.

Whatever they seem to have closed their mind to without proper consideration, that's what you can target for each individual.

Oh yes! I think that expanding people's imagination of what's possible.. is really a powerful way of creating impact. To me, there's honestly no compliment better than someone telling me that I expanded their imagination of what's possible.. that I've changed them. Especially if I didn't specifically give them advice. I simply motivated them by doing things differently than everyone else, and showing that it's something that anyone [1] can do, not restricted to the arcane domains of some esoteric genius. It's like basically changing their "openness to experience". In general, I do believe that the world would be "better" if more people had higher levels of "openness to experience".

In fact, it's also a powerful antidote against depression (and against people going into narrow high people-to-problems ratio fields where unhappiness tends to be very high). Sometimes I think that "lack of imagination" is a contributing factor to many cases of depression (not a causative one, and there are obviously genetic factors as well). But in my case.. I just really really wish that I knew of a world beyond that of school/academia, and that there are people I can respect who aren't in academia! (sadly, the experience of being in school made me elitist in many ways, which only further increased my neuroticism). But I didn't know that there were alternative paths that I could still be happy with when I was young (which led me to make some poor decisions in college).

There's just so much stress and depression.. so much people who are constantly comparing themselves against each other in some imaginary competition, all for the sake of signalling. So much of it completely unnecessary. And it's frustrating to see it. I think Peter Thiel summarizes it so well here:

Just look at high school, which, for Stanford students and the like, was not a model of perfect competition. It probably looked more like extreme asymmetric warfare; it was machine guns versus bows and arrows. No doubt that’s fun for the top students. But then you get to college and the competition amps up. Even more so during grad school. Things in the professional world are often worst of all; at every level, people are just competing with each other to get ahead. This is tricky to talk about. We have a pervasive ideology that intense, perfect competition makes the best world. But in many ways that’s deeply problematic.

One problem with fierce competition is that it’s demoralizing. Top high school students who arrive at elite universities quickly find out that the competitive bar has been raised. But instead of questioning the existence of the bar, they tend to try to compete their way higher. That is costly. Universities deal with this problem in different ways. Princeton deals with it through enormous amounts of alcohol, which presumably helps blunt the edges a bit. Yale blunts the pain through eccentricity by encouraging people to pursue extremely esoteric humanities studies. Harvard—most bizarrely of all—sends its students into the eye of the hurricane. Everyone just tries to compete even more. The rationalization is that it’s actually inspiring to be repeatedly beaten by all these high-caliber people. We should question whether that’s right.

I just think.. if we could maybe convince people to care more about making impact rather than being so obsessive about status... then so much more value can be produced.. And there would be so much less stress, and wasted years.

[1] I'm using the term lightly, but by "anyone" I mean anyone in the top 10% of intelligence, which is still quite a broad range.

Also, by spreading the word about a people who beat the odds, like a neuroscience professor who got into a top grad school with a 2.5 GPA, who is now an assistant professor who is now a rising star).. Seriously.. That type of anecdote is incredibly inspiring for anyone.

Comment by inquilinekea on How can Cognito Mentoring do the most good? · 2014-03-24T00:24:27.625Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good replies.

Regarding UnCollege -they charge tuition of $14k-$15k/year (see ). It's certainly not the way I would fund such a service, but we'll see if it works in the long term..

Hmm.. Yeah.. reddit isn't going to be the easiest medium to advertise on.. You could also try, maybe, though I'm not sure if it'll work. Maybe you could use another page on Cognito Mentoring to advertise on reddit?

Comment by inquilinekea on High school students and epistemic rationality · 2014-03-23T22:52:05.955Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's also important to note that K-12 education tends to infantilize people in general (and restrain their imagination of what's possible and what isn't). Many (though not all) 16-18 year old homeschooled students can have incredible levels of maturity and self-awareness.

Comment by inquilinekea on What we learned about Less Wrong from Cognito Mentoring advising · 2014-03-23T22:49:24.147Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious: what sorts of communities are they most familiar with? What did they think of College Confidential? And what were the subreddits that they were most familiar with?

Comment by inquilinekea on How can Cognito Mentoring do the most good? · 2014-03-23T22:46:01.575Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"I think you are likely making a strategic mistake by focusing on outreach instead of focusing on building a place where people want to go."

I agree - I think it would be nice to create a Facebook group (at least). Forums/subreddits could also work, although I'm not sure if they would gain much traction at this stage.

Comment by inquilinekea on How can Cognito Mentoring do the most good? · 2014-03-23T22:43:40.683Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious - what do you think of UnCollege and how it manages to advertise/fund itself? Would you be interested in following a similar model?

Also - what about advertising on sites like College Confidential and reddit? It probably wouldn't run well with the mods there if you advertised too much, but doing it once might work.

I think getting in touch with the homeschooling community might also provide some ideas. People in those communities can be incredibly motivated and resourceful.

Comment by inquilinekea on What are some cool things a LWer can do at Yale, Brown, and UChicago? · 2012-02-07T05:08:51.190Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for that excellent reply - that pretty much describes my social life too. :)

The one school that Chicago seems comparable to is Caltech, but Caltech students do seem to be more cliquish (due to the house system) and also probably less "intellectually promiscuous".

Comment by inquilinekea on What are some cool things a LWer can do at Yale, Brown, and UChicago? · 2012-02-07T05:07:02.412Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks very much for that reply! And I think you're right about that. There are very few non-LAC schools where the undergrads actually expect to be grad students in the future. So that's probably enough to make Chicago unique. Whereas at a place like Stanford, they might disdain the grad students since there is so much social pressure to join startups rather than grad school.

Comment by inquilinekea on What are some cool things a LWer can do at Yale, Brown, and UChicago? · 2012-02-07T01:18:59.730Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh okay I see.

Just wondering - are people in the dormitories somewhat cliquish? Or are the cliques less extreme than at other schools? And do they open up more easily than most students at other schools? In public universities, people often largely stick with their peer groups from high school (so I can never really join). And I've heard that people often become cliquish in the other elite schools too. Stanford undergrads even mistreat Stanford grad students (see ). But Chicago seems like it would be the least cliquish, based on the limited stuff I know about it so far.

Comment by inquilinekea on What are some cool things a LWer can do at Yale, Brown, and UChicago? · 2012-02-06T14:12:47.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wow - very nice. :) And very good points. :)

Do you know if PhD students are allowed to join these dining hall conversations?

Comment by inquilinekea on What are some cool things a LWer can do at Yale, Brown, and UChicago? · 2012-02-05T22:28:20.857Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh wow - that's so interesting! I would love to join a LW group there if I end up coming.

"Over half of the student population at UChicago is atheist/agnostic"

Isn't that true for most elite universities?

Comment by inquilinekea on [POLL] LessWrong group on · 2011-11-29T01:22:28.677Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Okay changed.

Comment by inquilinekea on [POLL] LessWrong group on · 2011-11-29T01:12:50.682Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah - thanks for the feedback! And yeah - does anyone know if a moderator could change the title of this?

Comment by inquilinekea on [POLL] LessWrong group on · 2011-11-28T11:17:05.238Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

To see a list of all the quizzes, see

Haha - this is interesting: - for some reason - us LWers are less conscientiousness than others. I wonder why (or actually, I just noticed a sample size of 3 - I wonder if this will stand with more samples). - love it how we all score 0 on traditionalism - we're lower than everyone on all counts

Comment by inquilinekea on [LINK] Loss of local knowledge affecting intellectual trends · 2011-10-22T23:07:30.779Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

meshes well with findings that the more children parents have the less they subscribe to nurture, since they finally, possibly for the first time ever, get some hands on experience with the nurture (nurture as in stuff like upbringing not nurture as in lead paint) versus. nature issue

Interesting - where are these findings reported?

I agree - though since most people have gross misunderstandings of genetics, then they might also think - "Well - they have the same parents and yet they're still so different!"- so then they might ascribe less to heredity too (and more to birth order or certain other environmental influences)

Comment by inquilinekea on LessWrong gaming community · 2011-09-26T04:58:31.235Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Why not create a Steam group for LW?

Comment by inquilinekea on Atheism & the autism spectrum · 2011-09-18T00:57:09.008Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, both statements could be true. Most popular Internet forums are over-represented by atheists [1], so the result is that many of the Christians (especially the conservative ones) get driven out and congregate on other forums (which may, in turn, not form particularly representative samples of the population)

Here's the other nail-biter: I'd actually suspect that Aspies might be over-represented among the highly-religious as well (though not as much among the non-religious). But they may also be especially likely to be driven out of wrongplanet

[1] relative to the U.S. population anyways. But there's another confounding factor: many forums also have a high number of internationals (there are definitely non-Americans on WrongPlanet), especially Europeans, and they tend to be even more overwhelmingly non-religious. I don't know about LiveWire's international population, but I'm pretty sure that it's less international than many other forums.

Comment by inquilinekea on Atheism & the autism spectrum · 2011-09-18T00:41:21.765Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Their neurotypical comparison group was

People who go on forums in the first place are frequently much less religious than average.

This is definitely true for numerous non-autistic forum as well (I've conducted polls). Among online communities I know where an overwhelming majority of the population is non-religious...

  • HeavenGames
  • Interesting Nonetheless (INTL), an offshoot of HeavenGames
  • Reddit
  • Social Anxiety Forums
  • College Confidential (though the ratio there is only around 60%)
  • Digg (the old digg, anyways).
  • Quora
  • I'm pretty sure it's true for Slashdot and Hacker News too

(Of course, LessWrong and Imminst are even more overwhelmingly atheist, but I wouldn't consider them as reliable "NT" forums to compare with, as their philosophies are philosophies that only atheists would find more attractive - this is not the case for the communities above)

In any case, Go LiveWire might not even be a reliable sample. There's such an overwhelming presence of atheists on many popular discussion boards (especially Reddit) that a lot of religious people are driven away and end up congregating more on places like LiveWire. Alternatively, they convert to atheism (I've witnessed numerous forumers on HeavenGames turn from Christian to atheist).

Plus, forums frequently homogeneize their views precisely because the people with less popular views get frustrated and driven out (this is especially true for anyone who has conservative views - I've seen many cases where conservatives get ostracized, leaving only a small percent of them who remain). Anyways, I'm a WrongPlanet poster myself, so I'll post the study there and see what they say.

Also, wrongplanet is definitely not a representative sample of everyone with Asperger's. The people there are definitely biased towards more extreme forms of the syndrome (and especially biased towards those who are especially lonely in real life). In terms of severity, my form is more severe than that of almost everyone I know in real-life, yet less severe than many of the posters there.

Another thing: most of WrongPlanet's posters are adults - most of LiveWire's posters are teens. They said they wanted to match for age-group, but they didn't do a good job of doing that.

Despite the study's flaws, I don't doubt the conclusion. And I still found the article to be an intensely interesting read, and do want to see more research into this.

Comment by inquilinekea on Rationality Attractors in Personspace · 2011-09-07T02:41:54.968Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Not professing opposition" is different from supporting it. Sorry for not making it more clear.

If someone has no public view on the issue - that's fine. It's a completely different thing if they actively take the irrational view (like supporting it)

Comment by inquilinekea on Rationality Attractors in Personspace · 2011-09-04T17:14:53.061Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My signal is usually someone's beliefs on certain controversial issues that arouse emotional gut responses in most people.

E.g., someone's view of the war on drugs is a pretty good signal of how rational they are - to a limited extent (although opposing it doesn't mean that they'll have Razib Khan or Robin Hanson levels of rationality). Mostly though, it just filters out irrational people (and it does a better job at filtering out irrational people than, say, views on abortion).

I do generally investigate more deeply though - beliefs on the public education system is another measure I use (and one where most academics, unfortunately, really fail on rationality). On that, at least, the "rational" position seems to be supported by a small minority of the population (other possible signals: views on cryonics, the use of mind-enhancing drugs, eugenics - this is actually a strong one, and life-extension)

I also use irreverence as a signal too. If you put too much respect on someone, then you'll get offended if someone points out possible defects in that person's way of thinking. Every statement someone makes must be critically evaluated, and yes, this applies to Razib Khan and Robin Hanson as much as anyone else (even though I highly respect them)


(of course, you also have to consider their "potential" for being rational - even I used to buy into the BS of the war on drugs and increased support for public education in the way it's structured now)

Comment by inquilinekea on Experience with dual n-back? · 2011-07-24T05:52:57.426Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think that the original SC helps as much? You have to do a lot of "clickfesting" in SC1, which you're spared from doing in SC2. Which means much more thinking in SC2. Wow.

Comment by inquilinekea on Experience with dual n-back? · 2011-07-24T05:51:40.834Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Holy crap - seriously?

The thing is - it's SO incredibly easy to play Starcraft 2 lazily. Which is why most people don't improve. But if you force yourself to improve, maybe there's a mechanism? I actually posted such a thread here:


Here was my original question: In Starcraft 2, how do you deal with game-theoretic anticipation chains? (the enemy anticipating that you anticipate that the enemy anticipate that you might do X)

In other words, the gun and bridge problem illustrated at

It's an interesting problem (especially in repeated games, where you're playing against the same player). In repeated games, you ALWAYS have to ask "well, he used hydras last time - so is he going to use a different unit combo to be more unpredictable? or is he going to anticipate that I'll anticipate that, and use hydras again?"

But also in 1v1s where the enemy might not engage in anticipation chains. But there's a chance that he might be totally naive, but also a chance that he might be trying to trick you.

By anticipation chain, I mean this. You spy on the enemy's base, and you see certain units/structures. Except - that the units/structures are decoys designed to trick you into believing that he's producing Y, even when he's producing X.

So if you see structures for Y/small armies of Y, he might be producing Y (he could not be trying to play such mental games, or he might anticipate that you think that he's trying to trick you. Or he goes to even higher orders of thinking [although I don't think that's likely]). But he might be producing X too (he could play that mental game either to the 1st order or the 3rd order [or higher, but that's unlikely])

But it also illustrates within-game behavior too. If he suddenly wiped out a bunch of your units with Z - (he might anticipate that you might produce counters for Z). Or he might not. Or he might anticipate that you might anticipate the above parenthesized statement. The loop goes forever.

This sort of problem does have a game-theoretic solution, but statistically speaking, the game-theoretic solution isn't necessarily going to work because not all agents are rational.

Anyways, I'm sure this doesn't arise often in random 1v1s. But maybe it might arise in SC2 games between people in, say, MIT or Stanford?


There was some paper on it some time ago, but it's gone now (

Comment by inquilinekea on Should Rationalists Tip at Restaurants? · 2011-07-13T04:32:23.074Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh interesting. Maybe things are different between the East Coast and the West Coast? The West Coast seems to care less about rules/social norms/richness.

Comment by inquilinekea on Should Rationalists Tip at Restaurants? · 2011-07-12T13:29:23.520Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Surprisingly, overtipping can be pretty rational (well, at least according to Yishan Wong, who is quite a rational person, based on his posts on Quora)

Overtip everywhere you go. Usually, the only way to be treated like royalty at restaurants and service establishments is to be a celebrity (or royalty). The other way is to be the person known for tipping well. Especially at places you frequent often, make a point of tipping extremely well - at least in the 20 - 25% range or more (especially for small-dollar amounts, where you can tip high percentages without spending a large absolute amount). The idea is to stand out as the person who tips significantly better than all the other customers. The employees there will get to know you astoundingly quickly, they will memorize your preferences, they will learn your name (even if it is a weird ethnic one), they will ask after your health, and they will make a point of asking if there is anything extra that you'd like (and sometimes comp you stuff) and generally go to great, polite lengths to make sure you are happy. You will feel like a celebrity and when you bring your friends, it will impress them that the proprietor knows you and treats you so well. Real celebrities don't really come around that often (unless you're living in L.A.), so you will end up being the special customer they lavish all their attention on - the local high-roller. Especially if you aren't actually rich, you are just choosing to be a great tipper, it will make you seem like a really great person. All of this extraordinary service can be had by simply voluntarily marking up your own bill by 10% over the usual cost. Did you get a raise? If so, don't go eating at a nicer restaurant, stay at the same restaurant you've enjoyed all along, and just pay more for better service.

Comment by inquilinekea on Can cryonically-frozen people *really* expect to be revived? · 2011-07-09T00:38:27.461Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hm interesting - how would the trustfund exactly work?

Yeah - I'd be scared of bankruptcy too.

Now that I think about it though, here's a possibly motivational factor: If the company fails to keep some bodies frozen, then confidence in it will drastically drop (especially for issues like this) and new patients will really stop paying for it. The influx of new patients is one factor that might help pay for it.

The economics might be scalable if only hundreds or thousands of bodies are frozen. Which will probably end up being the case. But significantly more than that - then you have a lot of workers to maintain the bodies - workers who aren't producing anything else of tangible value to anyone who's currently alive.

I'm not an economics major, so I don't know everything about it. I'm just trying to learn the field through some study and trial-and-error. That being said, I do question the modern-day assumptions of economics just as Robin Hanson questions them. I detailed my thoughts here: . The major thing is that something like this has never been done before, so I think we might know a lot less than we think with respect to the sustainability of this.

Comment by inquilinekea on Google+ · 2011-07-05T00:59:36.805Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If anything, it will hurt Twitter more.

Comment by inquilinekea on What are LessWrong's thoughts on Venkatesh Rao, Gregory Rader, and Daniel Lemire? · 2011-07-04T18:45:40.053Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, well, I'm not asking LW to criticize them - I'm just inquiring about what LW thinks about their ideas (since LW is the only community whose input I would really consider). Right now, I'm pretty much an uncritical fanboy of them, but I'd still like to update my beliefs with some discussion (of course I'll always respect them a lot)

Comment by inquilinekea on What are LessWrong's thoughts on Venkatesh Rao, Gregory Rader, and Daniel Lemire? · 2011-07-04T06:53:16.428Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh cool - thanks for the reply and examples!

Which of his ideas are you skeptical about?

Comment by inquilinekea on What are LessWrong's thoughts on Venkatesh Rao, Gregory Rader, and Daniel Lemire? · 2011-07-04T03:09:37.863Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Okay. The one thing is that these writers are so diverse that it's hard to summarize them all in one post.

But basically, they're all contrarians who question the very models that most people (including academics) follow. Basically, they're all about taking risks, short incremental bursts of productivity, and economics based on non-financial principles of values. Are they right on everything? Who knows. But it's refreshing to see what they say.

E.g. here's one of Venkat's good quotes (I can't take too much) - from :

This question is deeply misguided. "Meritocratic" usually indicates some rigid and static notion of merit, usually based on testing/scales/numbers games in mature and professionalized domains. So highest scores, most papers/patents, things like that. Even "highest customer satisfaction scores" is a meritocracy scale.

Being meritorious in this sense has very low correlation with being effective in most fields. "Merit" is entirely about individual qualities, "effectiveness" is about the quality of an individual in a given setting. Merit is neither necessary, nor sufficient for effectiveness. It is often a major source of ineffectiveness.

The clause "where luck, nepotism, etc. are minimized" shows where the question is going wrong.

Luck is good. Hire people who know how to get lucky. People with good radars, peripheral vision, daring and an opportunistic streak. They are rarely "meritorious" in any measurable way, but are highly effective. The meritorious types hate them, because their influence and rewards can seem disproportionate to their effort. These lucky, opportunistic types are often amateurish bumblers when evaluated purely on various scales of professional "merit."

They may even have NO personal qualities that contribute to their effectiveness: they may just happen to know one useful thing by accident. Would you give up a treasure-hunting expedition simply because the person who has the map is a happy-go-lucky drunk who happened to find it in a dumpster by accident while looking for food? Judge people by what they can do, not who they are. As Forrest Gump told Bubba's family, "stupid is, as stupid does." (from basically summarizes one of Greg Rader's main points.

Summarizing quote:

The conception of attention economy presented above unites two definitions that superficially contradict each other. In marketing conversations, attention economy refers to the usage of various tactics that convert attention into sales (represented in the image below by the vertical arrow). In discussions of peer-to-peer social media, attention economy refers to analogous tactics that empower individuals to convert weak ties into strong relationships (represented by the horizontal arrow).

And here is one of Lemire's excellent points (

You do not convince existing journals to give more respect to this new field you created. You go out and create your own journals and conferences. John von Neumann did not wait for his colleagues to approve of his work on Computers. In fact, he had to use threats to get what he wanted.

Another one (

There is a widely held belief that shared formal definitions improve collaboration. Certainly, most scientists share several unambiguous definitions. For example, there cannot be a disagreement as to what 2+2 is.

In crafting a research paper, it is important to keep ambiguities to a minimum. You do not want the reader to keep on wondering what you mean. Yet, many highly useful research papers contain few, if any, formal definitions. In fact, entire fields exist without shared formal definitions. One such fields is OLAP: the craft of multidimensional databases. The term was coined by Codd in 1993, yet, as of 2007, I have no yet seen a formal definition, shared or not, of what OLAP is! But it gets more interesting: even the common terms in the field, such as dimension, are fuzzy. What is a dimension in OLAP depends very much on who is holding the pen. Yet, there is no crisis lurking and people do get along.

In short, you do not need shared formal definitions to be productive as a group. A good research paper does not need to introduce formal definitions. Your research papers will be slightly ambiguous.

Comment by inquilinekea on Introducing… The Less Wrong Forum! · 2011-07-02T20:20:14.124Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, well, Proboards is pretty much the "lowest common denominator" of free bulletin-boards (in other words, it has bad signalling value). Most of the time when people see a Proboards message board, they'll think that the board is most likely a low-quality board. Because most Proboards forums are low-quality (even though theoretically, there could be high-quality ones - although the high-quality ones almost always end up switching to an independently hosted server or vBulletin. Not that it's necessarily a good thing - I'm surprised why there seem to be no good discussion boards centered around Proboards)

Comment by inquilinekea on Introducing… The Less Wrong Forum! · 2011-07-02T03:07:24.427Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There are some good things that a forum could achieve. For one thing, it's much easier to look through old posts (this is especially important on a discussion board like this, where there are many good posts that essentially get lost)

However, a forum with a Proboards URL is going to deter a significant number of people.

Comment by inquilinekea on Finally just created comprehensive resource collections/guides for autodidactism/several scientific subjects · 2011-06-27T17:41:01.100Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah thanks! I'll link those up to my Quora guides

Comment by inquilinekea on Finally just created comprehensive resource collections/guides for autodidactism/several scientific subjects · 2011-06-26T21:06:40.011Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that is the thing that is most sorely needed. I've been to numerous forums and there are non exclusively for autodidacts (that being said, there are many on College Confidential [AP self-studying is rampant there], but that only goes as far as high school)

Comment by inquilinekea on Being a lab rat for phase I trials for extended-release versions of drugs that are already well-known - a potential windfall financial opportunity for rationalists? · 2011-06-23T20:38:57.420Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, well, you could do multiple studies if you're not taking any drugs. But you probably can only do one drug-study at a time

As for finding opportunities, it depends. If you find the right RSS feeds and websites, then hardly any time at all. But actively searching for them is harder. It's sort of like you have a fixed investment cost, but after the initial investment, the time spent searching will significantly decrease

Comment by inquilinekea on Being a lab rat for phase I trials for extended-release versions of drugs that are already well-known - a potential windfall financial opportunity for rationalists? · 2011-06-23T18:53:13.313Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The one important thing is to look at all the universities that are closest to you (try to google your university + clinical trials). I know that MIT has a special mailing list for brain research subjects, for example (many of them pay really well and are effectively zero-risk). My university has .

Also, maybe email your local university's psychology department. They have some people who regularly do psychology trials. is a good list as well, although I can't find anything there. if you live in the BosWash metroplex, though, you can find numerous studies on it.

Here's some good information:

and also

If you live near a drug company that does Phase I testing - then you might be able to find the clinical trials that really pay the most. I'm not familiar with these companies though (not living near one), but I'll try to find some resources later if I can.