Comment by JayDee on Open thread, 21-27 April 2014 · 2014-04-22T04:26:16.209Z · LW · GW

There's an (unfinished) set of posts about rationality and drawing written by Raemon, Drawing LessWrong p2 p3 p4 p5 that might answer your questions (in the articles or comments.)

Comment by JayDee on Open Thread April 8 - April 14 2014 · 2014-04-15T07:56:55.288Z · LW · GW

LessWrong tends to remind me more of usenet. Probably just due to the threaded comments.

I'd happily read this site with a newsreader.

Comment by JayDee on Open Thread April 8 - April 14 2014 · 2014-04-15T07:54:22.950Z · LW · GW

Hmm, I'm not entirely sure. I can find old usenet comments - like my nethack YAFAP - from 2005 to 2008, but as far I can tell they were all made with Google Groups. I do vaguely recall using a newsreader, maybe trying to set up Thunderbird? It certainly would have been in character, "real men use newsreaders, and never top-post" kind of thing was a big part of the appeal. Possibly I could only get read-only access through whatever free provider I found.

At the time, the communities discussing interactive fiction and roguelike games were still centered on usenet ( and* respectively) although iirc half the conversations were on the need to move on, to web forums or whatnot.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread, 11-17 March 2014 · 2014-03-13T11:40:14.624Z · LW · GW

there's always someone on github who could use help with their open source thing.

Any chance you could point me at one or two?

Background: I enjoy coding, but run into problems with high-level motivation. Point me at something to do, I'll do it (and likely enjoy myself) but when it comes to doing the pointing myself I draw a blank. Most of the code I've written in the last year has come from frustration with inadequate tools at work, which is productive for learning but not for sharing.

I'm currently most proficient with Python, have dabbled in C++, and commit to spending an hour each with the first two open source things anyone points me at. (2x 25 minute pomodoros, this weekend.)

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-06T02:38:08.276Z · LW · GW

In this case, it's deliberately non-gendered language. Lower-effort, as kalium says. In my case because I cultivated the habit, in years past.

As both you and Douglas_Knight point out, there are tradeoffs involved. In the case of not gendering pronouns I expect I’ll continue thinking it worthwhile.

But it’s a helpful thing to consider- I’ll bet there are other habits I’ve developed that I’ve never considered if it’s worth the costs. Especially when I contrast my teenaged self – “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me” + “I’ll choose my words for my own aesthetical pleasure” – with the me of today – who does care, and on balance values communication higher than self-expression. I doubt my conversational habits have shifted as far as my preferences have.

I’m also interested by what you say about details. It’s not something I’d’ve thought of, worrying I tend more to being too verbose. But I like to write, and concrete detail / description is the area I’d consider my weakest there. I can think of some ways to practice this (started playing tabletop RPGs recently, for one.)

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-05T06:15:47.583Z · LW · GW

Thanks. Perception I thought was the main contribution in the past. But after a recent party my partner commented to me about people speaking over me.

And testosterone, that makes me curious. I wonder if I can get levels of that tested without too much hassle...

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-05T06:09:36.353Z · LW · GW

Fair enough. At this stage I'm curious as to which specifics I should be looking at. Or what kinds of things are key (to speaker priority in groups of 5-10).

The various elements of body language given, and your notes on content (I can be too verbose, for sure) have given me what I need to go on for now.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-05T05:58:23.654Z · LW · GW

Thanks. These are things I've learnt or tried learning in the past. I'd guess there are good odds that I'm reverting to past (shyer) behaviors in some situations.

I'll make an effort to be aware of my body language and focus next time.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-03T20:32:22.948Z · LW · GW

Question about a low-level social thing:

I've noticed that I have low priority in at mid-large group conversations. What I mean is that in situations where I'm one of two people talking, I'm (generally) the one who stops and the attention of the "audience" (people-who-aren't-speaking) is predominantly on the other person even before I stop speaking.

This used to cause me considerable distress, but no longer. I've accepted it as a fact of the social universe. But I'm still curious and would like to change it, if possible.

I suspect that this is something that varies by social group, and more strongly suspect that some behavior of mine is key.

I'm interested in (being pointed to) discussion of this type of thing, especially if it contains actionable advice.

Comment by JayDee on January 2014 Media Thread · 2014-01-03T20:16:40.918Z · LW · GW

Looking back, so did I.

When I saw the film I enjoyed it for being very pretty. And was pleasantly surprised (and surprised by my surprise) at how the plot led toward the original film.

Comment by JayDee on Handshakes, Hi, and What's New: What's Going On With Small Talk? · 2014-01-03T20:03:11.478Z · LW · GW

I'd add studies to that list, and possibly hometown / homeland / travels, if you are likely to be meeting students and travelers respectively.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-03T10:41:13.924Z · LW · GW

I had reservations about including that sentence, because I only have a vague idea which completely lacks details about mechanisms. And flushing seems like a folk-explanation rather than a science-explanation.

The other vague idea was that drinking more water means the toxins are more dilute, but I have even less confidence in that.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 · 2014-01-02T21:53:15.542Z · LW · GW

One reason for the myth about dehydration would be due to "drinking plenty of water" still being one of the most effective things to do: If it's about the liver breaking down alcohol into toxic Acetaldehyde, drinking lots of water to flush it out.

Understandable mistake to go from "more water fixes the problem" to "problem must've been not enough water (dehydration.)"

This was how it was discussed in my university chemistry class. Also mentioned: a similar breakdown (same enzymes or whatnot) happens with methanol, and the breakdown products (formaldehyde and then methanoic acid) are stronger / more toxic than those of ethanol (acetaldehyde / acetic acid.)

Comment by JayDee on Group Rationality Diary, January 1-15 · 2014-01-02T21:14:04.123Z · LW · GW

During my 2013 review, I've noticed one habit I've strengthened over the year: a certain curious skepticism.

When people share interesting facts with me, I've moved from responding "wow" or "I didn't know that" etc and filing the fact away to share myself, to something like "how fascinating, I wonder if that's true?" or "huh, I want to know more about that!" followed by taking out my phone and googling (or making a note to research it later.)

This includes wonder the same when I'm the one sharing the fascinating fact - "hang on, I've never checked if that's actually true."

I'm quite proud that to the best of my knowledge I can do this without offending people, or dropping out of the conversation.

On a related note, I've sometimes spent my morning compute write carefully phrased rebuttals to junk my family / friends share on facebook. Asked mum recently if I have been successful in arguing respectfully, learnt that I had, and in fact had caused something to be taken down. "Yeah, I hadn't looked deeply into that."

Comment by JayDee on January 2014 Media Thread · 2014-01-02T05:43:52.276Z · LW · GW

Reread Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Highly recommended, it has most everything I like about cyberpunk in a modern day real world setting. Without losing the Gibson world-building, world-building as a collage of interesting ideas and perspectives on things.

When I first read it, I thought this was his best book, right up until the end of chapter 37, I disliked chapters 38+ about as much as the epilogue of HP: Deathly Hallows. (And with similar belief that the book would be far better with those pages removed.)

Since then I've re-read the Bridge Trilogy, and read the sequels to Pattern Recognition. And this time I didn't find the ending frustration at all. Maybe because I could see the shape of things to come, or because I had different expectations.

The metaphor that struck me is that the structure of this book is like a certain kind of origami; much folding and unfolding, leaving you - just before the climax - with a flat sheet of paper covered in creases. Then all of a sudden it crumbles up, or seems to, but in actuality it all comes together in a new and unexpected shape.

Comment by JayDee on Open Thread, November 8 - 14, 2013 · 2013-11-10T00:38:41.435Z · LW · GW

Surprise as a cue to probability: Experiment #1?

Comment by JayDee on Open Thread, October 13 - 19, 2013 · 2013-10-16T12:08:42.868Z · LW · GW

I would recommend the Best Textbooks on Every Subject thread, rather. This comment (upvoted, incidentally) very almost meets the requirements there:

There have been other pages of recommended reading on Less Wrong before (and elsewhere), but this post is unique. Here are the rules:

  • Post the title of your favorite textbook on a given subject.
  • You must have read at least two other textbooks on that same subject.
  • You must briefly name the other books you've read on the subject and explain why you think your chosen textbook is superior to them.
Comment by JayDee on Open Thread, October 13 - 19, 2013 · 2013-10-16T12:04:35.398Z · LW · GW

I use certain videogames for something similar. I've collected a bunch of (Nintendo DS, generally) games that I can play for five minutes or so to pretty much reset my mind. Mostly it's something I use for emotions, but the basic idea is to focus on something that takes up all of that kind of attention - that fully focuses that part of my brain which gets stuck on things.

Key to this was finding games that took all my attention while playing, but had an easy stopping point after five minutes or so of play - Game Center CX / Retro Game Challenge is my go-to, with arcade style gameplay where a win or loss comes up fairly quick.

Comment by JayDee on Group Rationality Diary, September 16-30 · 2013-09-24T12:41:13.607Z · LW · GW

More generally, you are a perfect employee if you did something extremely similar to what your new employers wants to do, for the last ten years.

Thank you, especially for this. I've been contemplating "looking good to potential future employers" type things, and it hadn't occurred to me until just now to frame it as "consider exactly what it is said employer wants, minimise the distance between that and me (as presented by resume / portfolio / etc)"

Comment by JayDee on Group Rationality Diary, September 16-30 · 2013-09-20T03:25:00.229Z · LW · GW

I've found it useful to add time-estimates to my to-do list, and I stop adding things once I have eight hours of work down for the day. For me, the "I've acheived everything I set out to today" feeling comes partially from getting lots done and partially from setting realistic expectations.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-08-27T09:46:11.352Z · LW · GW

That is a good point. And in canon, it was a useful thing to do since it was only the Order & Co. who dared say the name, allowing for decent signal to noise.

I'd thought maybe in HP:MoR the order might be showing more caution, but in Multiple Hypothesis Testing Dumbledore uses the word - and with Moody there. I'd expect the HP:MoR versions of Dumbledore and Moody to to avoid it if they thought there was serious risk.

That said, the specific mention of not screening for listeners does still jump out at me like a Hint.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97 · 2013-08-18T22:55:24.195Z · LW · GW

Facepalm, of course. I was thinking there would be a meeting along the lines of the previous private conferences - pretending to be wise in particular. Didn't actually get around to checking which meetings had happened versus which characters I'd expect.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97 · 2013-08-17T00:56:15.139Z · LW · GW

There is at least one list on Reddit.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97 · 2013-08-17T00:49:24.529Z · LW · GW

They've been listening to Dumbledore's 'Life Is A Story' pitch a bit too much.

Seems likely to me that tearing this down will be the climax of the Roles chapters. Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry. And all throughout the story - referencing Gandalf and LotR, "that's not his style" - Dumbledore has been about playing a role in a story.

Also, revealing Dumbledore's secrets is one of the big elements of Rowlings' book 7, and one of the things HP:MoR would have to deal with to resolve all the canon plots in Harry's first year.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread, July 23-29, 2013 · 2013-07-26T03:27:48.152Z · LW · GW

I've found that preference to be common in Parkour communities, which might be another place to look.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-25T22:43:38.122Z · LW · GW

My second guess is that Minerva got in touch with Draco. She knows Harry taught him the Patronus from a conference in the headmasters office and has seen Harry's reaction to losing Draco.

At first I dismissed it at a silly thing for her to try, but now that she will be really making an effort it seems much more likely.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-25T22:39:09.118Z · LW · GW

Something like this would be my first guess. Draco torn between the roles of son and friend, either revealing to Harry information about Malfoy faction involvement in Hermione's death or trying to convince Harry that they aren't responsible.

Comment by JayDee on Daily Schedules in Combating Akrasia · 2013-07-23T03:15:27.750Z · LW · GW

I noticed significant improvement at work in specifically listing how long I expected task to take, over creating a list of everything that needed doing. That said, the improvement was in how I felt about how much I got done: "today I did more than I thought I'd be able to in eight hours, awesome!" versus "gah, only got half the things on my list done today." which could both be reactions to getting the exact same work done.

Having realistic expectations of how much I will get done boosted my motivation.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-23T03:08:27.622Z · LW · GW

I've only read the first one, where Katniss jvaf gur tnzrf ol guerngravat gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr va n yvgrenevyl hafngvfslvat jnl.

Comment by JayDee on Meetup : Melbourne Excursion: Comfort Zone Expansion · 2013-07-21T01:29:26.966Z · LW · GW

It's possible we have? If so it would have been in August 2011.

Instead of being harsh on myself, I decided to go ice skating (which was also on my list of things I've been meaning to do for ages.) and that worked out really well. These comments are more along the lines of 'take actions that increase the odds of my attending a meetup at some future point."

Comment by JayDee on July 2013 Media Thread · 2013-07-20T10:47:41.666Z · LW · GW

The Black Widowers Tales are right at the top of my 2ndhand bookshop foraging list, although I seem to only find copies of the one volume I've already read. Still not sure how I would justify my existence, but they sure are a great read.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-20T10:31:06.521Z · LW · GW

Brings to mind the Hunger Games, personally.

Could make a fun Omake?

Comment by JayDee on Meetup : Melbourne Excursion: Comfort Zone Expansion · 2013-07-20T10:29:20.826Z · LW · GW

And nope. So close. Made it to Leicester street, chickened out before ringing the bell. Next time...

Comment by JayDee on Some highlights from Nate Silver's "The Signal and the Noise" · 2013-07-19T10:40:44.968Z · LW · GW

Not that I recall, and searching the text for Kuran nets nothing.

Comment by JayDee on Meetup : Melbourne Excursion: Comfort Zone Expansion · 2013-07-19T10:29:50.933Z · LW · GW

Sounds awesome, I will quite probably be there. (Mostly leaving myself an out in case I sleep in.)

Comment by JayDee on What are you working on? July 2013 · 2013-07-07T12:30:07.013Z · LW · GW

First syntax error I got was the capital W in While, should be all lowercase.

Comment by JayDee on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T10:07:47.916Z · LW · GW

I suspect Quirrell was aware of the exchange, if he can do the same trick as in canon with names:

"No! You-Know-Who killed Hermione!" She was hardly aware of what she was saying, that she hadn't screened the room against who might be listening. "Not you! No matter what else you could've done, it's not you who killed her, it was Voldemort! If you can't believe that you'll go mad, Harry!"

Specific mention of not screening the room, and then saying the V-word out loud.

Comment by JayDee on Think Like a Supervillain · 2013-02-25T09:58:03.219Z · LW · GW

In the X-Men Comic Cable and Deadpool (2004-2008) Cable makes a a proactive effort to improve things, attempts to create a little utopia. While it all goes pear shaped, I got the impression that was mostly for editorial reasons (actually I only got interested in the series after the cross-over in question de-railed things).

Haven't re-read it recently, but it got me asking questions at the time about whether a superhero with knowledge of the future could actually make things better.

Comment by JayDee on Open thread, February 15-28, 2013 · 2013-02-20T11:30:25.776Z · LW · GW

I watched "Century of the Self" based on the recommendation in this post, point 14.

14 . Avoid consumerism.[...] One way to start deprogramming is by watching this documentary about the deliberate invention of consumerism by Edward Bernays.

I second the recommendation, although I will say I found the music direction to be hilariously biased; there was clear good guy and bad guy music. I found the narrative it presents eye-opening and was inspired to research a bunch of things further (always a good sign for a documentary, in my opinion.)

Comment by JayDee on Open thread, February 15-28, 2013 · 2013-02-20T11:19:38.918Z · LW · GW

My own posture improved once I took up singing. My theory is that I was focused on improving my vocal technique and that changes to my posture directly impacted on this. If I stood or held myself a certain way I could sing better, and the feedback I was getting on my singing ability propagated back and resulted in improved posture. Plus, singing was a lot of fun and with this connection pointed out to me - "your entire body is the instrument when singing, look after it" - my motivation to improve my posture was higher than ever.

That is more how I got there than conclusions. Hmm. You might consider trying to find something you value for which improved posture would be a necessary component. Or something you want to do that will provide feedback about changes in your posture.

If you are like me, "I don't want to have bad posture anymore" may turn out to be insufficient motivation to get you there by itself.

Comment by JayDee on The Power of Pomodoros · 2013-02-20T10:52:20.126Z · LW · GW

You could try recursion. Call the function SetPomodoro(task, time) from within a Pomodoro, if that is needed.

When you get to a point where you have to wait for a response (from the tests, or the compiler, or IRC) set a new timer and start a new sub-Pomodoro. 25 minutes might not be the appropriate time frame, but estimate how long you have to wait and set a timer for that long. Until this second timer goes off you can check emails or do "other stuff" and be confident you are spending your time wisely.

The idea is to minimize the time spent choosing what to do, or worrying about what you are doing. Decide, set the timer, get stuck in. Use your own judgement to determine what timeframes and levels of recusion are appropriate to your workflow.

Comment by JayDee on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-16T10:22:42.232Z · LW · GW

I was thinking of making February "catch up with people I've been meaning to catch up with" month. But I kept putting it off and failed to think of a catchier name.

So instead I decided to give up procrastinating about social initiation for Lent.

So far it is working well: I'm learning about how difficult it is to schedule things with adults (which more interesting than intimidating upon reflection) and also learning that rejection does hurt a whole bunch but that I am more resilient in the face of it than I suspected.

Comment by JayDee on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-16T10:15:12.940Z · LW · GW

Good luck.

This reminds me of an experience from my childhood. After watching the finale of Seinfeld, my mother made some kind of comment about how I watched so much TV it was unhealthy. I decided to go a week without watching any television, you know, just to prove her wrong.

And I managed it (admittedly I taped the X-Files to watch after the week had passed. I am unreasonably proud that I went four years without missing an episode even though these days it is trivial to see them all.) It's the first example I can think of where I took an unexamined behavior and made it a deliberate one. It was a good experience to have behind me.

Comment by JayDee on Meetup : Melbourne, Ben's house · 2011-09-06T07:35:54.612Z · LW · GW

I'll be there.

Comment by JayDee on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-08-04T08:26:17.605Z · LW · GW

The last sentence of these three: "My reasons for preferring to dissuade him [Mike] were entirely about myself. I hadn't yet begun to scratch the surface of what I wanted out of dating or romance or anything in that department. And it seemed like a uniquely hazardous thing to uninformedly test by experiment, both for myself and for anyone else involved. "

A concise explanation of my feelings towards courtship and such things.

Comment by JayDee on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-08-03T23:00:20.750Z · LW · GW

Five quick questions, five fast answers. Fast and perhaps somewhat rambling.

I'm an Australian, a few years shy of thirty, who has generally done things for his own reasons rather than simply going along with everyone else. After secondary school I got a job or two, became heavily involved in a fringe political group for a few years and only then decided to go onto to university. Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) - hopefully the last BS from the education system I'll put up with. I've just very recently dropped out of Honours and moved the 1000km home to Melbourne, which was the most difficult decision I think I've ever faced. Not being easy, it stretched my relevant skills to their limit, and in the end it was quite nice to learn that I can make choices as a rational adult human. Or at least as some approximation thereof.

Every now and then I attempt to express my personal values in a system like those used in the Ultima games. Most recently, my three principles of virtue were Curiosity, Truthfulness, and Playfulness. Curiosity I have valued for as long as I can remember - my primary school motto included "live to learn" which I took to heart. Honesty has been an absolute for me since a particular incident in my late teens. Play I've valued especially since reading Schiller but creativity in general I've valued much longer. I find Internet "memes" and other banal forms of conformity an affront to creativity; people should find and use their own words.

I've never really identified as a rationalist per se, but as I say I've always tried to have my own reasons for why I do things, or why I think things. Tried with varying levels of success. Even at the age of ten I thought that knowledge was power, and that mathematics in particular should be seen as equipping my mind with tools to better solve problems. The only book to really open my mind or change the way I question things was Dune, first read in early high school, which raised my standards for self-control and for long-term planning. To say the least. The fringe political outfit I joined made a pretence of rationality, on reflection, which pretence I for one took quite seriously. And then when I was looking to do honours this year, one of the possible projects was "something something Bayesian something", which was enough prompting to pick up a book on the subject and read it. I picked up Jaynes' textbook, and people still look at me funny when I say I read a statistics textbook for fun and loved every minute of it. One of those "yes! this is the way that things work and I've never seen it put in words this well before" books. Or put into mathematics as well, perhaps.

Happening across Less Wrong after all that just seemed fitting. Turns out there are people out there with similar values to me - I even know some of them. I read some posts by HughRistik (a friend was engaged in an exchange with him on some blog, probably 'Alas!') and I was quite impressed with the way he argued, to put it mildly. Found a link to his comments here, bookmarked it as a place to check out one day. Eventually came back to do so, recognised a couple of people from the xkcd forums (Hi Vaniver!), read the Harry Potter fanfic (and was mightily impressed), read the Twilight fanfic and was even more impressed (I took great delight for a couple of days in telling people that I'd found the perfect expression of something I'd been trying to say for years, and that it was "something Bella said in a Twilight fan fiction".)

I've started on reading the sequences (just moved interstate and it was easier to bring ebooks than physical ones) but I still would've put off making this intro-thread type post. But I'm planning to attend the local meet-up on Friday, and that makes for a useful deadline.