jam_brand's Shortform 2023-01-09T14:28:16.445Z


Comment by jam_brand on I'm consistently overwhelmed by basic obligations. Are there any paradigm shifts or other rationality-based tips that would be helpful? · 2023-07-23T03:12:43.264Z · LW · GW

While not really answering your question, reading the description for the problem you're having brought this exploration / taxonomy of okay-ness to mind.

Comment by jam_brand on Announcing the AI Fables Writing Contest! · 2023-07-13T03:00:17.937Z · LW · GW

Looks like the answer is yes.

Comment by jam_brand on I still think it's very unlikely we're observing alien aircraft · 2023-06-16T04:06:13.437Z · LW · GW

Also perhaps of interest might be this discussion from the SSC subreddit awhile back where someone detailed their pro-Bigfoot case.

Comment by jam_brand on Intelligence Officials Say U.S. Has Retrieved Craft of Non-Human Origin · 2023-06-11T02:04:10.165Z · LW · GW

Serious question: would something originating adjacently from a separate Everett branch count?

(sillier-though-hopefully-not-counterproductive question: since your final statement especially would, I think, often seem to go without saying, its "needless" inclusion actually strikes me as probably-not-but-still-hypothetically-maybe worrisome -- surely you're not intending to imply that's the only recourse allowed for being denied one's winning lottery ticket? [or perhaps my own asking is needless since someone deciding to be a jerk and not wanting to pay could simply use such agreed-upon discretion to "fairly" declare themselves the winner anyways, in which case: sorry for the derail!])

Comment by jam_brand on Intelligence Officials Say U.S. Has Retrieved Craft of Non-Human Origin · 2023-06-07T21:29:50.259Z · LW · GW

("Halt, Melt, and Catch Fire" is in a few posts in the Coming of Age sequence)

Comment by jam_brand on AI #14: A Very Good Sentence · 2023-06-05T00:51:17.211Z · LW · GW

Somewhat similar to you I've thought of the second group as "Vroomers", though Eliezer's talk of cursed bananas has amusingly brought "Sunnysiders" to mind for me as well.

Comment by jam_brand on Product Endorsement: Food for sleep interruptions · 2023-05-31T20:02:40.985Z · LW · GW

I can't vouch for this personally and don't even recall the source (always a great way to start advice...), but I remember reading once that a pinch of sugar sublingually with a touch of salt might also help for quickly returning to sleep.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T20:43:57.535Z · LW · GW

The "Borderline" icon currently being a balance is something I most naturally interpret as "balanced fairly", whereas a similar-ish alternative -- open hands gesturing up & down -- reads more like "iffy" to me and might better communicate the concept. Here's a simultaneously too complex and too crude mockup based on :

A similar idea to indicate that something might be kind of a toss-up (which at first blush strikes me as less good than palms balancing, yet maybe better than the icon already in use), would be some sort of flipping coin, e.g. something like sans hand. Or perhaps  including the hand.

Another idea could be a thumb sticking out sideways ala , though somehow that reads to me as possibly more judgmental maybe.

Finally, I noticed these half-arrows pointing in opposite directions: . I don't know if their abstract nature would make them feel less judge-y or if them sorta mirroring the left/right arrows we already use for voting would read to some as actually *more* unnecessarily judgemental.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T20:41:21.133Z · LW · GW

I'm surprised to see a "Wrong" icon as a counterpart to "Verified" and not something like "Citation Needed / Requested" or something else that solicits information / evidence.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T20:41:08.379Z · LW · GW

Using a plain heart to express empathy seems easier to confuse with "I love this" than seems ideal. Here are a few other options that seemed potentially appealing after looking through results at The Noun Project for "Empathy" and "Hug":

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T20:40:29.399Z · LW · GW

I think "Muddled" unfortunately seems easier to naturally interpret in an accusatory way, so something else indicating "this was hard for me to see / wasn't clear to me" might work better. My initial thought was to maybe use "Foggy" as a metaphor (as in, "there might be something there, but I'm having a hard time seeing it"). I suppose something with a lighthouse probably looks more like "a beacon of clarity", though here are some other possible Hazy / Cloudy things:

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T20:39:37.979Z · LW · GW

"Strawman" seems like it might be kind of niche, so I went on a quest looking for something more indicative of "I find this to be misleading / misrepresentative" before realizing this apparently already exists. I can't say I really have any issue with the one already in use, but since there seems to be lots of ways to approach this and I already have several at hand, here's a multitude of alternatives just in case any seem especially resonant. Themes depicted below include loss of signal or mutations in translation, frames being warped or distorted or stuff that's been twisted, something that's erroneous or unfair or illusory, ideas seeming substantially askew / outlandish / alien, and other wrongness. Enjoy!

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T06:59:52.531Z · LW · GW

I prefer this as a default as well since it's information-preserving and the most common reactions will often cluster more-leftward anyway.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T06:15:01.571Z · LW · GW

I agree and also I wanted to leave a thanks-react for making that submission, but apparently am short of the requisite karma threshold, so... thanks! :)

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread With Experimental Feature: Reactions · 2023-05-27T06:04:02.180Z · LW · GW

This seems right to me since e.g. if someone were to use anti-excitement to indicate "this is draining" there'd then be an issue of how someone else might see this and then wonder how best to express they think it's actually pretty neutral rather than draining (since, while excitement cancels out anti-excitement, indicating excitement itself wouldn't be truth-tracking in this case).

Comment by jam_brand on Sinclair Chen's Shortform · 2023-04-21T03:33:16.143Z · LW · GW

Another hybrid approach if you have multiple substantive comments is to silo each of them in their own reply to a parent comment you've made to serve as an anchor point to / index for your various thoughts. This also has the nice side effect of still allowing separate voting on each of your points as well as (I think) enabling them, when quoting the OP, to potentially each be shown as an optimally-positioned side-comment.

Comment by jam_brand on Writer's Shortform · 2023-03-21T02:16:19.534Z · LW · GW

Also posted on his shortform :)

Comment by jam_brand on Shortform · 2023-02-22T14:25:59.148Z · LW · GW

I don't have a direct answer for you, though I imagine the resource mentioned at might well turn up what you're looking for :)

Comment by jam_brand on jam_brand's Shortform · 2023-01-09T14:28:16.700Z · LW · GW

Emoji: Minor Gripe Edition 👺🤡🐉

(I thought to append an even gaudier headlining tag, but don't have the heart—if though, by the way, you don't know what's so gaudy about it [and/or already don't reckon you much care about such a gripe] and simultaneously also don't love that I've surreptitiously stolen the focus of your eyeballs for such a matter, well... maybe we're in more agreement than you think! ♥)

A couple things I think I'd enjoy seeing regarding mini-ideogram usage here, though happy to know others' opinions as well:

I'd love if the default text-color was also used as the default for emoji (especially for posts, though maybe shortforms [and/or the approximately-two-tweets-worth of initial characters also visible in mouseover previews, though admittedly that's perhaps too burdensome] since those are visible when scrolling All Posts without an additional click); IANAE, though for at least a subset of emoji it seems this might be accomplished simply by affixing the Unicode combining character U+FE0E VARIATION SELECTOR-15 (VS15) to switch them to their text-representation, though alternatively there are open monochrome fonts that instead cover the full spectrum like the one found here:

Don't get me wrong, although I think I prefer some initial friction for its use, I'm not actually anti-color in general (e.g. I've largely felt ok about the images people have decided to insert within their writings).

Anyway, one last thing (maybe even the most important): as hypocritically-hinted at the outset, I also don't love them in post titles (at least when on display untruncated, anyway), though admit a bit more tolerance when confining such flourishes to personal blogs (which—I confess, yes—this post technically isn't). I agree with a recent commenter from a few days back mentioning such headline usage is usually unpleasantly attention-hijacking, though since their downvote of disapproval was met with much disagreement, I guess the next-best option for trying to maintain a tasteful garden could be actually disimplementing them outright since mere disincentivization seems frowned upon.

Looking back in closing, I think I could've condensed this considerable whinge to a fraction of the footprint given more time (or merely mightier 'moji-mojo, maybe), though with so rarely putting pinkies to keyboard, perhaps you'll excuse the rare semi-ramble indulgence. Sure sure... shortform, schmortform... yet nicely tiny, this isn't (and I try to keep [real] tidy, y'see?), though guess that goes with only minor explication too, so fine... further thoughts, colorfully-embellished or otherwise? 🎤

Comment by jam_brand on Covid 12/15/22: China’s Wave Begins · 2022-12-16T11:47:55.804Z · LW · GW

I don't know how promising this might be, but I saw the following yesterday via the Bountied Rationality facebook group after someone else posted an ad regarding possibly getting Paxlovid shipped to China:

Comment by jam_brand on Willa's Shortform · 2022-08-12T07:52:52.917Z · LW · GW

No specific suggestions other than maybe to consider perusing the sleep tag here and perhaps this article from the EA Forum last year. Best of luck with your experiment! :)

Comment by jam_brand on Slow motion videos as AI risk intuition pumps · 2022-06-16T20:59:40.931Z · LW · GW

Also along these lines, perhaps contrasting the flicker fusion rates of different species could be illustrative as well. Here's a 30-second video displaying the relative perceptions of a handful of species side by side: . Additionally, a short section from 10:22 - 10:43 of this other video that incorporates time-stretched audio of birdcalls is fairly evocative: .

Comment by jam_brand on The horror of what must, yet cannot, be true · 2022-06-03T21:09:44.731Z · LW · GW

As far as pithy new verbiage goes, here's a couple possibilities: one might say the can't-stand-this suffering results from being abruptly "dreadpilled" or "sunderstruck".

Comment by jam_brand on [$20K in Prizes] AI Safety Arguments Competition · 2022-05-27T13:34:31.840Z · LW · GW

I wonder if a more influential attribution might be since, in addition to Stuart Russell, it also lists Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek on the byline.

Comment by jam_brand on [$20K in Prizes] AI Safety Arguments Competition · 2022-05-27T13:33:52.786Z · LW · GW

For policymakers: "Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all."

— Stephen Hawking, Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek (

Comment by jam_brand on [$20K in Prizes] AI Safety Arguments Competition · 2022-05-27T13:33:13.996Z · LW · GW

For policymakers: "[AGI] could spell the end of the human race. […] it would […] redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans […] couldn't compete and would be superseded."

— Stephen Hawking (

Comment by jam_brand on [$20K in Prizes] AI Safety Arguments Competition · 2022-05-27T13:30:50.905Z · LW · GW

For policymakers: "If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that will outperform humans."

— Stephen Hawking (

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread June 2018 · 2018-06-01T23:32:08.141Z · LW · GW

Curious about this as well since neither of these recently-updated articles from the NYTimes-owned (meta)review site The Wirecutter mention being able to find any bone-conduction headphones they liked.

Comment by jam_brand on Sophie Grouchy on A Build-Break Model of Cooperation · 2018-06-01T08:05:32.877Z · LW · GW

These were my first ideas as well, albeit in reverse order ;) Having thought a bit more now, I might prefer yet another option -- what about "twirling"? (like "in circles" or "your hair")

Comment by jam_brand on Open thread, August 28 - September 3, 2017 · 2017-08-31T07:26:16.763Z · LW · GW

Here's a post, though not from Alicorn, that has some info that may be of interest:

Comment by jam_brand on [deleted post] 2017-01-23T07:41:39.599Z

FWLIW, I took "I've never heard of metatroll either, but I won't hold that against them :)" as intended to have a net-deëscalatory effect, even if it didn't seem to be entirely subtext-free. (and this combination of attributes is not something I have a problem with)

Comment by jam_brand on Deconstructing overpopulation for life extensionists · 2017-01-03T01:50:32.534Z · LW · GW

Apparently it's supposed to link here.

Comment by jam_brand on Diaspora roundup thread, 15th June 2016 · 2016-06-22T08:57:22.108Z · LW · GW

FYI, this is the original source of that top line you're quoting:

(the alt-text might[n't] also be noteworthy to you, which reads "Understanding is for terrorists.")

Comment by jam_brand on Open thread, Oct. 12 - Oct. 18, 2015 · 2015-10-12T23:23:05.190Z · LW · GW

Feel free to comment -- since only the user you're replying to (and anyone that has chosen to subscribe to updates for that specific post) is notified, you don't need to fear being a distraction to masses of people who might no longer care.

Comment by jam_brand on A few misconceptions surrounding Roko's basilisk · 2015-10-08T17:52:25.685Z · LW · GW

Perhaps the article you read was Yvain's The Virtue of Silence?

Comment by jam_brand on Meta post: Did something go wrong? · 2015-09-01T06:05:04.358Z · LW · GW

Explanation here:

Comment by jam_brand on Open thread, Aug. 10 - Aug. 16, 2015 · 2015-08-17T20:27:38.404Z · LW · GW

I strongly dislike this. The head seems too ornate and the outline reminds me of so-called "tribal" tattoos, which seems low status. The body being subtly asymmetrical is a slight annoyance as well and with the owl now being centered in the image I think the subtitle should be too.

Comment by jam_brand on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-17T18:43:28.479Z · LW · GW

An additional reason to punish defection is to disincentivize would-be defectors in the future since they know they too would be risking such punishment.

Comment by jam_brand on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-17T17:01:03.770Z · LW · GW

Seeing as how you're potentially willing to put money toward this, have you considering running a contest?

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Jul. 27 - Aug 02, 2015 · 2015-07-28T08:38:09.159Z · LW · GW

While I'm sure you've thought of setting silent alarms on your phone, a slightly less obvious idea would be to get a watch that has a vibrating alarm capability.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015 · 2015-07-28T07:54:48.226Z · LW · GW

On the last night while searching at the end of the road she lives on, my cousin noticed some movement by a mostly empty lot and when she approached she saw Lily (the cat) run into some weeds there. I wish I could say there was "one weird trick" that definitely helped, but it was actually more like a flurry of facebooking -- as much for getting emotional support as for finding leads -- and being vigilant enough to be in a position to get lucky.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015 · 2015-07-27T03:52:34.503Z · LW · GW

She did, yes. It took 9 days and predictably she lost some weight, but she's otherwise ok. Anyway, I hope you can report similarly good news yourself soon.

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015 · 2015-07-25T11:48:55.170Z · LW · GW

Regarding MetaMed:

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015 · 2015-07-25T01:04:49.167Z · LW · GW

Here are some links I compiled on this topic recently when my cousin lost her cat. Best of luck!


(CONSULTING) DETECTIVES (not all consult via phone & email, but it seems many do, e.g.


The following book apparently has an epilogue regarding finding missing pets: (there's also an older, dead-tree edition called The Lost Pet Chronicles - Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective)


Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015 · 2015-07-25T01:04:31.348Z · LW · GW

In addition to talking to animal shelters, checking in with local veterinarians could be useful as well.

Comment by jam_brand on Leaving LessWrong for a more rational life · 2015-05-22T03:45:39.903Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure if this is what you were thinking of (seeing as how it's about a year old now), but "blog post summarizing the most useful bits of LW's lore" makes me think of Yvain's Five Years and One Week of Less Wrong.

Comment by jam_brand on LessWrong Experience of Flavours · 2015-04-25T05:52:28.298Z · LW · GW

Asking about people's "preference on a 1 to 5 scale" (rather than, say, "their appreciation on a -2 to +2 scale" or "on a scale from strongly dislike to strongly like"), then seeing the next line begin "I like spicy things", I nearly interpreted the far left to be "I like this only a little" and the far right to be "I like this a lot".

Comment by jam_brand on Happiness and Goodness as Universal Terminal Virtues · 2015-04-23T06:55:52.432Z · LW · GW

I commented in that thread myself and what you've said seems a worthy addition even without a disclaimer; it adds at least as much to the discussion as this post which nobody has downvoted. (of course, it might seem easy for me to say your comment should be posted if I'm not the once risking the karma punishment for doing so, so note that I'd be willing to copy/paste what you've said and take any punishment/reward for myself if you'd like)

Comment by jam_brand on Open Thread, Apr. 20 - Apr. 26, 2015 · 2015-04-23T00:53:11.676Z · LW · GW

Eliezer said it in : "That scream of horror and embarrassment is the sound that rationalists make when they level up."

Comment by jam_brand on Happiness and Goodness as Universal Terminal Virtues · 2015-04-22T10:57:42.531Z · LW · GW

I don't have anything to add to the discussion, but in the interest of being phatic I just want to say that this is a great introductory post -- welcome to LessWrong!