10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist 2013-05-17T01:59:51.360Z · score: 33 (37 votes)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Bookshelves 2013-03-18T21:52:53.440Z · score: 35 (39 votes)
Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge 2011-10-18T17:39:22.428Z · score: 44 (46 votes)


Comment by jessegalef on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2013-05-17T04:10:47.936Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent point, thanks! I'd been using this mostly for work projects that I'd already decided were worth doing but found myself procrastinating, but that's a great addendum.

I'm in the process of learning more about Geoff and Leverage's Goal Factoring, so that might help me refine the list (or replace it with something better.)

Comment by jessegalef on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2013-05-17T03:16:27.626Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're welcome! I've been using this checklist for a few months, though I've been on the road traveling for much of it. I finally applied the checklist steps to posting the checklist to LessWrong.

I've gone through it enough that I can usually remember each of the 10 steps even when I'm not at my desk. That seems like a good sign that it can carry over to other contexts. (Though I acknowledge that the process of having created it myself probably made it easier for me to remember.)

Comment by jessegalef on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2013-05-17T02:09:54.239Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding the music: I found video game soundtracks to be especially perfect - after all, they're designed to be background music. But I think there's more to it than that. I've had years of conditioning such that when I hear the Warcraft II soundtrack I immediately get into a mindset of intense concentration and happiness.

Obviously it depends on your tastes and whether you have attachments to particular video games, but here are my favorites:

(non-video game music that go into the rotation)

Comment by jessegalef on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Bookshelves · 2013-03-19T16:08:38.923Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My thinking for Game of Thrones belonging to Gryffindor (though at this point it might just be cognitive dissonance, so please let me know if it sounds right) is that the first book - A Game of Thrones - most heavily features Ned Stark, the paragon of honor and principle. I'm wishing that I had put another Song of Fire and Ice book on the Slytherin shelf to show contrast...

Comment by jessegalef on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Bookshelves · 2013-03-19T00:48:06.659Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's all that's in the printed paperback version that I have - I think Eliezer is working on publishing a more comprehensive volume, but this is all I have.

Comment by jessegalef on Meetup : Columbus or Cincinnati Meetup · 2011-12-22T21:23:09.815Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm in! I live in Columbus, so would love a meetup here.

Comment by jessegalef on Skepticon IV meetup: planning · 2011-11-16T01:56:31.049Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'll be at Skepticon - I'm moderating the "death" panel with Eliezer and Julia (and Greta Christina and James Croft)!

From knowing the speakers and backgrounds, I also recommend:

1) Julia's talk "The Straw Vulcan" on the interaction between rationality and emotion, 2) Spencer Greenberg's talk, Self-Skepticism: What the Tools of Science Tell Us About Our Thoughts, Beliefs, and Decisions and 3) Hemant Mehta's "The Need for More Critical Thinking in Math Education"

These, along with my panel, should all be of interest to the rationalist community. See you there!

Comment by jessegalef on Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge · 2011-10-19T23:15:58.180Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the clarification - this is my first post on LW and wasn't sure how to interpret the "link" comments.

As it was, I'd upvoted them because I appreciate knowing what else I'd probably enjoy reading - there's so much material and it really helps having you guys pointing to relevant articles. It's good to know they're intended that way, and not as admonitions for not already including those links.

Again, everyone, thanks for making me feel welcome!

Comment by jessegalef on Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge · 2011-10-18T23:48:05.688Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed - when I was young, we didn't use emoticons. We typed "emote smile" and let the MUD client fill in the rest.

... Too nerdy?

Comment by jessegalef on Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge · 2011-10-18T23:45:09.670Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Love it!

That brings to mind a fantastic set of posts on Mind Your Decisions (game theory blog) about focal points and coordination problems. If there's anything identifying about one of the songs - even being first on the list - it's a good idea to choose that one.

... Man, I bet psych researchers hate people like us.

Comment by jessegalef on Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge · 2011-10-18T20:47:31.216Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm mostly been using it to track my predictions about the winner of each football game, but have my preferences set to leave predictions private.

As expected, I'm inappropriately confident at most levels of "confidence feeling" except the very high levels, where my accuracy can be more attributed to luck and a small sample size.

Comment by jessegalef on Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge · 2011-10-18T19:28:53.076Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Inferential distance is an extremely handy phrase. I was actually unaware of it (an example of distance?) until today, but it's definitely related!

(On an off-topic note, this is my first post on LW and my first chance to tell you that I mentioned you in a post I wrote when I found Prediction Book: (This site isn’t new to rationalists: Eliezer and the LessWrong community noticed it a couple years ago, and LessWrong’er Gwern has been using it to – among other things – track inTrade predictions.)

Comment by jessegalef on Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge · 2011-10-18T18:21:18.442Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, good catch!

[EDIT: For the record, I had accidentally written "by a factor of 40." I corrected it in the article for future readers.]

Comment by jessegalef on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-10-18T05:34:46.463Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That depends - would I die horribly and mysteriously after a year?

Comment by jessegalef on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-10-18T05:27:22.242Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Great questions!

Regarding the second one, "What would [people] think if they knew exactly what I was doing?" - I absolutely agree that it's important as a pragmatic issue. If someone will get upset by a technique - justified or not - we need to factor that into the decision to use it.

But do you think their discomfort is a sign that the technique is unethical in any meaningful sense, or merely socially frowned upon? Society tends to form its conventions for a reason, but those reasons aren't necessarily tied to a consistent conception of morality.

That said, I agree that if people get upset by a practice, it's a good warning sign that the practice could be unethical and merits careful thought. ...Which could be exactly what you meant by asking the question.

By the way, I'm looking forward to meeting you at Skepticon next month - I'll be moderating a panel you'll be on!

Comment by jessegalef on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-10-18T04:49:07.602Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's one useful way to make a distinction! And, honestly, probably the one I lean toward. That's probably the way I'd use the words, but even so I'm trying to figure out whether there's a sensible and coherent way to call a persuasion technique unethical as a reflection on the technique, rather than solely the consequences.

I've thought about it another way - if a particular technique is far easier (and more likely) to be used in a way that reduces utility than it is to use in a positive way, society should be wary of it, and perhaps call it an unethical practice. I'm thinking of some alleged pick-up artist techniques that are based on lowering a woman's self-esteem and sense of self-worth. (Disclaimer: this is second or third-hand information about PUA, so I could be misrepresenting it. Regardless of whether it's practiced by PUA, the hypothetical holds.)

Comment by jessegalef on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-10-18T04:41:48.635Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the tip!

I've come across some of this material, but haven't read it in a systematic way. I very occasionally refer to persuasion as 'the dark arts' - I think that phrase/connection came from LW originally.

Earlier this year I gave a talk on the psychology of persuasion, synthesizing some of the fascinating studies that have been done. Rather than present the most blatant techniques as manipulation, I framed them as known weaknesses in our minds that could be exploited if we weren't wary and aware. Thus: defense against dark arts. Combining rationality and Harry Potter! Hey, that would be a great fanfiction! (Yes, I'm aware of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and have done my best to spread it far and wide.)

Thanks for the support regarding my job: I've loved doing it and hope to do more for the secular movement!

Comment by jessegalef on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-10-18T04:02:09.301Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Hi everyone, my name is Jesse. I was introduced to LessWrong by my sister, Julia, a couple years ago and I've found the posts here fantastic.

Since college, I've been a professional atheist. I've done communications/PR work for three secular nonprofit organizations, helping to put a friendly face on nontheistic people and promoting a secular worldview/philosophy. It doesn't exactly pay well, but I like knowing that I'm part of making the world a more rational place.

I'm fascinated by a lot of the same things you are - psychology, rationality, language. But as a communications director, I have a particular passion for effective communication and persuasion. The "A Human's Guide to Words" sequence was invaluable in shaping my understanding and practice.

The question currently on my mind (among others) is: "Does it make sense to call a particular persuasion technique unethical? Or does it entirely depend on how it's used?"

Let me know what you think, and I look forward to being a part of this community!

  • Jesse
Comment by jessegalef on [link] SMBC on utilitarianism and vegatarianism. · 2011-10-18T03:34:48.666Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

"I actually have a fair amount of respect for people who go out hunting and shoot their food themselves. "

I hear this a lot and agree in a vague sense that felt a lot like a cached thought. So I started thinking about it: Should we really respect people who go out to hunt and kill animals themselves?

My initial reaction was that I'm wary, not respectful, of someone comfortable/enthusiastic about ending a life! As a display of character, it's worrying.

But on second examination, I changed my mind. Even from a virtue ethics perspective, I admire a person who's willing to face the consequences of their actions rather than letting the factory farming go on out of sight. You're right, willful ignorance is not something to respect.

And from a consequentialist standpoint, hunters almost certainly cause less suffering to the animals than factory farmers do.

Having grown up in a city on the East Coast, I didn't exactly grow up with an appreciation for hunters. But I think I respect them a bit more now.

Comment by jessegalef on New Rationality Blog: 'Measure of Doubt' · 2011-04-02T01:49:50.240Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Allow me to echo Julia's thanks!

Dreaded Anomaly is right; LW has had a significant influence on me, particularly the "A Human's Guide to Words" sequence. I drew from it heavily in a talk I gave on effective communicating, and it'll be prominent in a few other talks coming up.

I'm aiming to do more LW-esque posts (beyond things like basic recaps of the map-territory.) Looking forward to your feedback!