Notes from "Don't Shoot the Dog" 2021-04-02T16:34:46.170Z
Notes on "The Anthropology of Childhood" 2020-08-27T17:11:19.205Z
Resource on alcohol problems 2020-02-27T18:17:56.947Z
Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" 2015-07-17T19:19:20.908Z
What causes burnout? 2011-12-27T04:51:35.384Z
Career choice for a utilitarian giver 2011-08-08T02:10:51.711Z


Comment by juliawise on There’s no such thing as a tree (phylogenetically) · 2021-05-13T21:21:28.358Z · LW · GW

If it's a shrub, it's a shrub that grows 30 feet in the air on the branch of a tree? Herbaceous seems right to me.

Comment by juliawise on There’s no such thing as a tree (phylogenetically) · 2021-05-13T21:17:21.115Z · LW · GW

This blew my mind!
A couple nitpicks on the chart:
- you said strawberry has a tree ancestor but none of its ancestors on the chart are trees
- pineapple is colored as "definitely a tree," but it's a bush

Comment by juliawise on Notes from "Don't Shoot the Dog" · 2021-04-29T22:03:47.985Z · LW · GW

One of the chapters deals with getting rid of behaviors you don't want, with eight methods (some of which she doesn't recommend). For example, training an incompatible behavior: if don't want your dog to beg at the table during dinner, train your dog to lie down someplace else during dinner. Or "shape the absence" - reinforce everything that's not the unwanted behavior. 

Comment by juliawise on Notes from "Don't Shoot the Dog" · 2021-04-06T20:46:57.576Z · LW · GW

I don't think I have anything much to add in the way of specific tips. 

I do think I'm a worse parent when I have less support (when I was home on maternity leave with a newborn and toddler, or when Jeff has been traveling and I've been alone with both kids for longer stretches than usual.) I agree that having childcare available, either paid or any kind, can help you be more patient and in-control. 

Comment by juliawise on How do we prepare for final crunch time? · 2021-04-02T16:54:43.955Z · LW · GW

oh right, about the public speaking / communication type skills.

Comment by juliawise on How do we prepare for final crunch time? · 2021-04-01T19:48:23.036Z · LW · GW

I was coming to say something similar [edited to add: about communication skills.]
I don't know much about this field, but one comparison that comes to mind is Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered that hand-cleaning prevented hospital deaths, but let his students write it up instead of trying to convince his colleagues more directly. The message got garbled, his colleagues thought he was a crank, and continental Europe's understanding of germ theory was delayed by 60 years as a result.

Comment by juliawise on Daniel Kokotajlo's Shortform · 2021-03-08T20:33:30.590Z · LW · GW

He did write something along similar lines here:

Comment by juliawise on Daniel Kokotajlo's Shortform · 2021-03-08T20:24:20.268Z · LW · GW

He did write publicly:

Comment by juliawise on Things a Katja-society might try (Part 2) · 2021-02-13T15:56:58.237Z · LW · GW

I think architects are correct to be skeptical of their own ability to do stuff other than right angles. MIT's Stata Center is famously interesting, and also is full of leaks and mold because it doesn't do the basic building thing of keeping the rain out. 

Comment by juliawise on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-09T21:32:33.558Z · LW · GW

New Hampshire surprised me for this reason. There's a small group of LW types but my impression is they feel pretty isolated.

Comment by juliawise on Covid 9/3: Meet the New CDC · 2020-09-04T13:35:25.270Z · LW · GW

Is the Massachusetts number due to the huge amount of testing MIT is doing? MIT alone is responsible for 10% of the state's tests, and they've got low positive rates (7 positive tests this week out of about 10,000 tests).

Or the number of positive tests was literally negative? I agree that seems impossible unless they somehow overcounted before and were correcting for it

Comment by juliawise on Notes on "The Anthropology of Childhood" · 2020-09-03T17:15:08.886Z · LW · GW

Fraternities and sororities do hazing in a way that's closest to the rituals described in the books (and the warm welcome to the group afterward).

My impression is that the passage into adulthood is quicker and more definitive in traditional societies. In my circle, you might graduate high school and leave home, which is the biggest change, then college is sort of a transitional stage where you're fed and housed communally on someone else's dime, then you transition to working and finding your own place to live some years later, and then maybe establishing your own family some years after that. All of which gives us more freedom - of what to study, where to live, what kind of work to do, whether and whom to marry - than we would have had in villages where that was all pretty much settled by age 20.

Comment by juliawise on Notes on "The Anthropology of Childhood" · 2020-08-31T18:31:56.008Z · LW · GW

1. This was covered, including FGM, but seemed less consistent than the pattern for males.

2. There wasn't much on this - a few notes on swaddling or hammock systems that included some kind of drainage. One note on how in one culture men hold babies away from their bodies to avoid getting wet, while women hold the babies close (but I'm guessing getting dirty that way?) I also don't feel like I understand how this has worked historically, especially in colder climates where you can't just leave them bare.

3. They talk about how mobile cultures (I think foragers) hold babies upright and encourage them to step, which does lead to earlier walking. Using a cradleboard is the opposite method, restricting the baby's movement but it allows them to be tied to an animal, keeping them from being underfoot.

Comment by juliawise on Authorities and Amateurs · 2020-03-26T16:02:52.053Z · LW · GW

But other people were sharing other articles saying different things ("this is all overblown"), or just something more moderate like "we'll have to social distance later but not yet" and other people were also taking those seriously. So I still don't know how to answer the question of "at the time, how should we have known who to listen to?"

Comment by juliawise on Resource on alcohol problems · 2020-03-26T13:52:32.733Z · LW · GW

There are so many books on this topic that I didn't try to catalogue them. But thanks for the recommendation!

Comment by juliawise on What should we do once infected with COVID-19? · 2020-03-23T14:40:50.848Z · LW · GW

> It is probably too late though.

That might be technically true but I think it's misleading - I'm not clear on how common it was in China for one member of a household to get sick and others to stay well, but from anecdotal reports in the US I think it's fairly common for one person to get it and not spread it to e.g. their spouse and children.

So I'd think if one member of a household has symptoms, it's well worth quarantining within the household instead of assuming it's not worth trying to limit spread.

Comment by juliawise on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-02T16:09:26.476Z · LW · GW

The CDC recommends drying hands, because wet hands spread and receive microbes more easily. (Although that's microbes generally and they're not sure about disease-causing germs in particular).

So I'd think that applying lotion and then, say, opening the bathroom door with lotiony hands will re-contaminate your hands. Doing it just before sitting at your desk for a while or going to bed might be a better time, so your hands can dry when you're not going to be walking around touching stuff.

Comment by juliawise on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-01T04:00:44.181Z · LW · GW

Their advice for healthcare settings is to prefer hand sanitizer, because it's better at killing germs, it doesn't dry your skin as much, and you're more likely to actually use it.

Their advice for community settings is to prefer soap and water, as far as I can tell because you're more likely to have stuff on your hands (grease, dirt), and because kids might drink it.

This coronavirus-specific page seems to treat them interchangeably.

Comment by juliawise on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-01T03:52:43.768Z · LW · GW

Related: CDC recommends washing with warm or cool water as opposed to hot, because hot water doesn't help more and is more likely to bother your skin.

Comment by juliawise on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-02-29T18:22:25.107Z · LW · GW

Edit: Sounds like this isn't very useful because you'll be able tell if you're having trouble breathing? See comment below.

Advice: Get a pulse oximeter to be able to triage at home.

Reasoning: If you're mildly sick, you probably don't want to go to a medical office (both because you'll be clogging up an overcrowded system, and because you'll be around people who are even sicker). But you need to know when you're sick enough to need medical care.

One way medical professionals triage is by vital signs. Most of them are obvious either to you or to other people (shortness of breath, paleness, dizziness, turning blue) but oxygen saturation (how well-oxygenated your blood is) is not. If you think you might have pneumonia (one of the common effects of coronavirus), low oxygen saturation is one of the things that would indicate that, and lower numbers should move you toward getting medical care. 95% and above is normal (at sea level) and lower numbers mean it's likely your lungs aren't working properly (with outcomes being worse the lower the number is).

The device is cheap and easy to use.

Note that you might still be very sick and need medical care even if your oxygen level is fine, so this is a way to rule in being sick enough to need medical care but doesn't rule it out.

Guide to using and what levels are normal

More detailed instructions for troubleshooting

Article on lower oxygen saturation meaning worse outcomes for pneumonia

(I'm not a medical professional and would appreciate it if someone who is would double-check the logic here, or some risk I'm not thinking of in terms of people reading it wrong and coming to wrong conclusions)

Comment by juliawise on Dony's Shortform Feed · 2019-08-14T18:39:25.210Z · LW · GW

I never have a productive six-hour unbroken stretch of work, but my partner will occasionally have 6-hour bursts of very productive coding where he stays in the zone and doesn't notice time passing. He basically looks up and realizes it's night and everyone else had dinner hours ago. But the rest of the time he works normal hours with a more standard-to-loose level of concentration.

Comment by juliawise on Dialogue on Appeals to Consequences · 2019-07-19T14:24:13.385Z · LW · GW

[speaking for myself, not for any organization]

If this is an allegory against appeals to consequences generally, well and good.

If there's some actual question about whether wrong cost effectiveness numbers are being promoted, could people please talk about those numbers specifically so we can all have a try at working out if that's really going on? E.g. this post made a similar claim to what's implied in this allegory, but it was helpful that it used concrete examples so people could work out whether they agreed (and, in that case, identify factual errors).

Comment by juliawise on Diversify Your Friendship Portfolio · 2019-07-15T18:52:21.753Z · LW · GW

I note that one of Davis' categories was friends from competitive gaming - I'd guess there are a lot of nerdy, introverted types there. Some other activities that come to my mind as having a lot of people from that demographic: various other kinds of games (video/computer games, go, chess, pen-and-paper roleplaying games), juggling, historical reenactment, Wikipedia editing, fiber arts (spinning, dyeing, knitting, etc).

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-18T15:42:16.675Z · LW · GW

"Sites were randomly assigned to receive an experimental intervention (n = 16) modeled on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative of the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund, which emphasizes health care worker assistance with initiating and maintaining breastfeeding and lactation and postnatal breastfeeding support, or a control intervention (n = 15) of continuing usual infant feeding practices and policies."

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-14T21:06:07.855Z · LW · GW

You can certainly buy plant-based formula, but most of the typical formulas you'll find on Amazon or at a US grocery store are based on cow's milk.

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-14T21:02:21.356Z · LW · GW

Formula is typically based on cow's milk. Human milk has higher sugar (lactose) content than cow's milk. The nutrition for building baby cows and baby humans is different enough that infants shouldn't just be fed a balance of nutrients that works for other mammals. Some cultures use this or other mixtures like sugar water out of necessity, but it's not a good idea if you can avoid it. Around one year, once the child is eating other foods, is when they start recommending adding cow's milk.

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-14T20:52:41.158Z · LW · GW

I'm not talking about blinding, I'm just talking about randomizing. That's right, in areas with obvious confounders like class, baby health, and maternal stress level, and relatively small differences in outcomes between the groups anyway, I don't think correlational data is worth much.

Having parented a difficult-to-feed baby and having tried everything I could think of to get calories into her, I'm quite sure that even parents who start out willing to follow a given recommendation quickly change their mind if things don't seem to be going well. (If not, you're selecting for parents who are willing to prioritize following instructions over their baby's health, which certainly gets you a different population than is typical.)

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-14T20:45:41.603Z · LW · GW

But population-level differences in populations that were encouraged to breastfeed vs. not encouraged to breastfeed, as in the Belarusian study, should circumvent that.

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-10T15:18:19.374Z · LW · GW

I was really glad you wrote this. I'm also confused about what 1-year-olds should drink:

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-10T15:17:08.551Z · LW · GW

I'm confused - the Belarusian study Ozy is talking about wasn't a sibling study, right?

Comment by juliawise on Advances in Baby Formula · 2018-09-10T15:16:25.066Z · LW · GW

I don't see how it's possible to really randomize this. No one's going to stick with a feeding method if they think it's best for their child to switch, just because they signed a form telling some researcher they would. Baby sleep studies have the same problem.

As far as I know, the closest we have is the Belarusian PROBIT study (as Ozy mentioned above) where it was advising that was randomized.

Comment by juliawise on Sabbath Commentary · 2018-08-20T14:42:11.207Z · LW · GW

I tried something like this on Saturday. I notice that in a household with two small children, any effort for one parent to have more "slack" usually results in the other having less. Most of the work of taking care of children doesn't stop when electronics and lists stop.

I also worry that to people unfamiliar with how this traditionally plays out, there's work happening that's invisible in these posts. My understanding is that for the house to be ready and the feast prepared by Friday evening, women in observant Jewish families typically need to leave any other jobs they hold at noon. (Perhaps this isn't universal - it's coming from a family member's time working at a Jewish school, where everything shut down Friday at lunchtime so the female staff could go home and cook.)

You've approached this at the individual level, but any thoughts on how this works out at the household level?

Comment by juliawise on Paul's research agenda FAQ · 2018-07-11T20:15:24.549Z · LW · GW

It seems odd to write a post about someone with a common first name and not mention their last name until the acknowledgement at the end of the post.

Comment by juliawise on Effective Altruism : An idea repository · 2017-06-27T19:32:05.535Z · LW · GW

Posting on behalf of my coworker Sam Deere (who didn't have enough karma to post):

"Thanks for the feedback. It's good to know that this is something people are thinking about — we think a lot about how to make EA's online presence best serve the needs of the community too.

For context, I'm head of tech at CEA, which runs (I have less to do with the content and structure of the site these days, but had a hand in putting it up, and am involved in a lot of decision making about which projects to priorities.)

There seem to be a few concerns, one about functionality, one about discoverability, and one about content. That is, EA needs better discussion spaces, the ones it has are too hard to find, and the easiest-to-find content doesn't represent the breadth of EA really well.

In general we agree that EA needs good discussion spaces, and that the current ones could be improved (e.g. by separating concerns of content discovery and content creation etc). This is something that's in CEA's longer-term tech projects roadmap, but we don't have the capacity to prioritise this right now. This is doubly true when there are fairly good discussion spaces available, in particular the EA Forum. However, we're working on building out more features, on top of the webapp (which at the moment is functionally just EA Funds).

Individual projects will have their own coordination needs so at this point it hasn't made sense to try to build a be-all/end-all platform that encompasses all of them. You've suggested a number of tools that such a platform could draw inspiration from — in many cases people do just use these tools to coordinate on projects. The EA Forum serves a useful role to announce project ideas and seek collaborators, and this isn't the only place in the community where projects/collaboration happens — EA Grants and the .impact Hackpads were already mentioned. Another example is Effective Altruism Global, which allows people to discuss these projects and ideas in person, which is much higher bandwidth.

(It's also important to get the balance right between shiny new things that work better and continuity — there's always a new platform, a new tool that we could use that will be an improvement on existing processes. But if it doesn't complement existing tools and processes people use, then it risks either not gaining adoption, or splitting the user base. Developer time and energy is a scarce resource, and like everything, needs to be prioritised. Many projects of this scope fall into disuse.)

Regarding discoverability, as others have suggested, it's not clear that the solution is to make things more discoverable. Online communities are very hard to get right — there's a constant tension between preserving the culture and norms that make the culture great, while keeping it open and accessible to newer members who want to get involved. Newer members have less context for certain discussions (which makes people feel they can't be as open for fear of alienating newcomers), newer members may ask lots of basic questions etc (see the Eternal September effect). The solution is never perfect, but it's important to have ways for people to get involved with the community incrementally, so that they can acquire that context as they go — this necessitates having some more introductory content on places like, and the selection effects of the effort required to learn a bit more about the community are likely a feature, not a bug.

In general we observe that people start reading introductory content, then those that are hooked do a deep dive and discover the rest of the community in the process. However, it's a useful data point to know that you felt that as someone who was already potentially on board, that the introductory stuff was off-putting, and we'll keep that in mind as we're considering what other content needs to be on

Regarding content breadth, CEA is currently working on a project to make the content covered on more comprehensive and representative of the broader spectrum of ideas that get discussed within the community (partly building on the existing Effective Altruism Concepts project, and also drawing inspiration from things like the LW sequences — more details will be announced in time).

As with everything, we're massively constrained by staff and volunteer time. At the moment we're hiring for a number of roles that should speed up the development of some of these features (hint hint...). As someone noted, it would perhaps have been worthwhile to post this on the EA Forum to see if there are more ideas in this vein, or if others in the community are working on something like this."

Comment by juliawise on Don't Shoot the Messenger · 2017-05-22T19:31:52.374Z · LW · GW

I think it was sensible of them to at least evaluate the question, particularly if they thought their children might live in a nuclear wasteland rather than dying. Given that I heard this from their daughter, they did indeed decide to have children (at the advice of their priest, who reasoned as you do that a short life was better than none.)

Comment by juliawise on Don't Shoot the Messenger · 2017-04-24T16:53:39.893Z · LW · GW

I think LW is rare in that regard, though. I don't think most people think their children are in danger of any grand disaster except maybe climate change.

Comment by juliawise on Don't Shoot the Messenger · 2017-04-22T01:27:27.458Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I remember around 2007 a friend saying her parents weren't sure whether it was right for them to have children circa 1983, because they thought nuclear war was very likely to destroy the world soon. I thought that was so weird and had never heard of anyone having that viewpoint before, and definitely considered myself living in a time when we no longer had to worry about apocalypse.

Comment by juliawise on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-17T11:27:04.413Z · LW · GW

It might depend on the market, but I live up the street from a three-apartment building that was occupied by a co-op for a long time. The co-op residents enforced stuff like not messing up the house, and because lots of people wanted to live in the co-op the landlord never had to worry about vacancies.

Assuming the landlord likes the initial group of tenants, having a group of tenants who will pre-vet new tenants and will find those tenants themselves should be very appealing.

This would require patience and risk-tolerance on the part of the initial group, if they're renting apartments or buying houses in an area where they hope more will become available but don't know when (and don't know that their friends will still want to join them when space is available.)

Comment by juliawise on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-17T11:14:01.452Z · LW · GW

Yeah, when I looked into cohousing this is what I concluded too. My husband and I ended up buying a house with 6 bedrooms and occupying two of them (then adding two more family members and building two more bedrooms.) None of our housemates would have bought in because they're not sure how long-term they want to be here, but they're happy to be renters and we're happy to own the building.

To us it's important that the arrangement be flexible; rather than a single big house we bought a house that had been divided into two apartments, so if we ever want to stop having housemates or we can't find housemates who want to live with us, we can pick the smaller or the larger apartment and rent the other one out. There's also some possibility of our kids wanting to rent from us in 20 years, which we think will work better if they can have their own apartment. I wouldn't have wanted to sink our savings into something that would really only work in one configuration.

Comment by juliawise on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-17T02:22:25.021Z · LW · GW

N Street Cohousing in Davis CA is a classic example of this.

Comment by juliawise on Dead Child Currency · 2015-10-28T20:12:27.773Z · LW · GW

If the demographic transition continues, I'm not too worried about Malthusian scenarios. It seems that people who are less worried about their children being wiped out by disease have fewer children.

Another option is interventions that improve lives without saving them, such as deworming.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-09-14T02:41:13.997Z · LW · GW

The law just changed for 2015, so although many companies were switching to less-toxic ones in the past they are now free to not use any flame retardants at all, and some are doing so. All IKEA furniture manufactured after Jan 1, 2015 should be fine. The only exception would be if you somehow bought something that was made before then, but I imagine their turnover is fast enough their 2014 stock is all sold.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-23T00:16:50.558Z · LW · GW

She does not speak either and is really fussy, screaming a lot

Where I live, a child with in that situation would probably be referred for early childhood intervention (a free service where health visitors come to your home and work with you and your child). I wonder if that's available where you live?

For kids that are slow in speaking (or really any babies), one thing that's common here is to use baby sign language to allow them to communicate before they're speaking. We've found it's really helpful for our daughter to be able to communicate things like "more" and "all done" with hand signals. Still working on "hungry" vs. "thirsty", since currently all that is encompassed by "more." I think it reduces fussiness because she can express her needs better and we can meet them better.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-21T21:54:20.043Z · LW · GW

Also, there's now a chicken pox vaccine, so no need to catch it at all.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-21T11:59:54.129Z · LW · GW

Gerbils? Guinea pigs? Mice? Birds? They don't have personality in the way that dogs or cats do, but might appease a six-year-old.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-21T10:47:09.881Z · LW · GW

None of these sources are about indoor cats. They are all about feral or indoor-outdoor cats.

I did find a study about the prevalence of toxo in Polish indoor cats, which was 19% if they were not fed raw meat. A study on "indoor" cats in Rhode Island animal shelters found 26% had toxo. That last one seems a bit odd, because you don't know much about the history of a cat at a shelter. A lot of cat adoption places make you promise to keep the cat indoors, but they have no way of checking, so people returning an unwanted cat to a shelter may claim to have kept their promise even if they didn't. In any case, no indication of whether these cats got toxo while they were indoor cats, or for example while kittens with a different owner.

I would feel more comfortable without cats, but since they belong to my housemates they're not my choice. Luckily one is blind and the other seems pretty incompetent (the cats, not the housemates).

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-21T02:53:39.326Z · LW · GW

One possibility is to get a cat that already has toxoplasmosis (I believe you can get them tested), since they can't shed it after the first few weeks. But you're more likely to get it from undercooked meat, anyway, so if you're really concerned it's probably best to focus attention there.

Source on cats getting out of the house, killing and eating animals, and then sneaking back in unnoticed? Especially unlikely in our second-floor apartment since the cat would have to make it through a closed door four separate times without anyone knowing.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-20T19:39:38.398Z · LW · GW

I did the same thing. The studies/abstracts I've read talk about effects on children of women with "high levels" of PCBS but I have no idea where I fall on that scale. Like, Inuit women have very high levels, but they're eating very large amounts of fish, seals, etc. This paper has info about health effects of people eating Great Lakes fish, which may be more relevant to you.

My very non-expert impression is that it seems to be less serous than mercury. And even the evidence on mercury had some weird bits, like studies that show mercury is good for babies' neurodevelopment (because they didn't control for maternal fish consumption, and apparently the fish was more helpful than the mercury was harmful!) But obviously the goal is to get the good fish nutrition without the pollutants.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-20T15:22:06.159Z · LW · GW

By "save" I meant "avoid losing" not "gain an extra." Assuming a child would not normally get mercury poisoning, for example, by preventing mercury exposure I am preventing my child from losing some amount of cognitive ability.

My guess is that interventions like preschool are more likely to fade with time, and brain damage is less likely to fade.

I'm not taking Salkever's numbers literally. But you probably agree that brain damage causes lost value, possibly a lot of lost value. I estimate that I may spend a few thousand dollars on various steps to prevent brain damage to my children. That seems like a good investment to me.

Comment by juliawise on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-20T15:12:40.056Z · LW · GW

Thanks; fixed. Our deck is considerably older than that, though, so depending on the wood's age it may still be relevant.