Effective Altruism vs Missionaries? Advice Requested from a Newly-Built Crowdfunding Platform. 2015-06-30T17:39:09.721Z
A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex 2015-06-02T22:03:40.800Z
Brainstorming new senses 2015-05-20T19:53:55.069Z
Strategies and tools for getting through a break up 2015-05-18T18:01:45.047Z


Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-07-14T15:41:51.896Z · LW · GW

Update added as an addendum above!

Comment by lululu on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-07-14T14:50:42.746Z · LW · GW

I could believe that a 3 hour core could contain a lot of SWS, making it definitely better than Uberman. In those little naps, it's easy to jump into REM and hard to jump into SWS. I was under the impression that 3 hours is still less SWS than the minimum to prevent sleep deprivation symptoms, but I also am endlessly impressed by the capacity of the human brain to adapt to any symptom. Did you do any cognitive functioning tests before/after switching to Everyman?

Comment by lululu on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-08T14:40:30.488Z · LW · GW

Evidence please. Your idea relies heavily on the thesis that poorer people are happier and have better social relations than rich people, do you have anything not anecdotal to support that?

My experience of seeing poverty in the US is that it comes with or from a whole host of other social problems like addiction, untreated physical and mental health issues, abuse, anxiety, overcrowding, fear of violence. These co-morbid problems are not conducive to neither happiness nor strong social ties, except in an unhealthy codependent way. I do know that children who grow up in poverty (without malnutrition) have brain development issues because of all the toxic anxiety and stress they were exposed to as a child, and that these problems persist through adulthood if untreated, even if the poverty conditions are removed.

In fact, from a precursory google search, every article I see about the neurological effects of poverty is that it increases daily experience of negative emotions, chronic pain, increases the odds of all kinds of unpleasant experiences and mental health issues, and comes with a constant sense of anxiety.

Comment by lululu on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-07-02T18:56:22.599Z · LW · GW

As a narcoleptic, I am always suspicious of extreme polyphasic sleep claims. Biphasic seems to be natural, but anything like the uberman schedule seems to conflict with what I know about narcolepsy.

The primary symptom or possibly the primary cause of narcolepsy is skipping straight from light sleep to REM within minutes of falling asleep. When I was tested, I entered REM between 3 and 7 minutes of falling asleep. Sleep cycles are fractured and slow wave sleep is reduced or skipped entirely.

By contrast, a normal person enters REM after usually more than an hour, stopping along the way in three different phases of sleep. The deepest stage, slow wave sleep, is where quite a lot of brain repair occurs. Glial cells are restored, free radicals are cleared out, glucose is stored in the brain. Growth hormones repair tissue damage.

Many of the claims of ubermen proponents seem to rest on entering REM almost immediately after staring a nap. Much like a narcoleptic. Stage four is arguably more important for mental health, but this stage is not mentioned by proponents that I have seen. Furthermore, some of the symptoms of narcolepsy seem to match the experiences of polyphasic sleepers, particularly the general awakeness/non-grogginess which is occasional unexpected and uncontrollably strong daytime sleepiness.

Background: The idea of less sleep super appeals to me because I need so much. Before I was diagnosed I tried Uberman but it didn't seem to reduce my daily hours of sleep needed, and in retrospect it obviously could never have done that for me. But my natural sleep cycle is super polyphasic, 3 or 4 naps a day and reduced sleep at night. Unfortunately, my body wants is 10+ hours regardless of whether its in one chunk or spaced out throughout the day, and spacing seems irrelevant since I rarely have SWS regardless.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-06-30T18:45:20.059Z · LW · GW

That was my method!

Comment by lululu on Top 9+2 myths about AI risk · 2015-06-30T17:48:12.420Z · LW · GW

Given the speed of AI development in other countries, do we know if any of the work on friendly AI is being translated or implemented outside of the US? Or what the level of awareness of AI friendliness issues among AI researchers in non-English speaking countries?

(I realize that IQ isn't an effective test of AI, but this is the article that prompted me wondering: )

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-08T19:20:41.348Z · LW · GW

Fully agreed that this incentive would also be well spent on programs directly for the prisoner. Unfortunately, there is no way that you could convince law makers to consider this. Imagine the headlines: "My Rapist Is Payed More than Me," "Go Directly to Jail, Collect $200", "Pennsylvania Begins New Steal to Earn Program," "Don't Qualify for Student Loans? Steal a Car!"

People are more comfortable if the money goes to some intermediary. I would expect prisons are the best group to insensitivize because they have the captive audience. If job training works, prisons can earn money by providing job training. If they need reasonable jobs, it would be in the prison's interest to make ties with recruiters or hire a full time job seeker on the prisoner's behalf.

For the record, also agreed that education and health care are great preventative expenditures but that is a different system for reforming and one with a lot of partisan lines in the sand. I think it would be disproportionately difficult to use incentives to reform those areas because facts don't matter when partisanism starts happening.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-08T19:04:13.081Z · LW · GW

People's past experience with the justice system would no doubt be part of the model, as well as factors possibly including: Career area, Dependents/spouse, Time in current job, Past (unconvicted) run ins with cops, Known drug addictions, Track record of arresting cop and sentencing judge, ect.

With a good model, it would be hard to charge "normal" people in a way that actually gamed the statistics, because their probability to re-offend is very low to begin with. When they don't re-offend it would be expected behavior and not represent in drop in observed recidivism vs expected recidivism. So no bonus.

I would expect the lowest hanging fruit to be in drug addicts and thieves, there is a very large body of knowledge about rehabilitating those two groups.These would be the two groups where I expect to see the largest difference between expected recidivism in the current system vs. a treatment group with psych professionals and job training provided.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-08T18:44:01.043Z · LW · GW

re: futures market in recidivism -

If participants stop returning to jail at a rate of 10% or greater, Goldman will earn $2.1 million. If the recidivism rate rises above 10% over four years, Goldman stands to lose $2.4 million.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-03T00:51:15.188Z · LW · GW

Hmmm, yes. Yikes. Additional thought needed.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-03T00:27:55.007Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure I'm convinced that it would interact with the idea of retribution. I'm personally not behind the idea of retribution as the final goal of our justice system, but of this proposal would be adding rehabilitation as an explicit end goal without making any statement for or against retribution as a possible concurrent end goal. This isn't a proposal to reduce or alter sentences in any way, in other words, in the mind of people who demand retributive justice, justice will continue to be served.

In an ideal world, I would rather that the US moved away from retribution, but changing cultural norms that are as established as that one is much more difficult than changing payment structures, I imagine. And very few people, including those who prefer retributive justice, would argue that recidivism rates should be increased or stay the same if decrease is possible.

I'm also not really on board with imprisoning people who commit victimless crimes. But that is well outside the scope for this. Again, this proposal specifically makes no value judgments on other policies (in hopes that it could actually be passed without partisan bickering). So pot is an issue for another day. And if recidivism of weed smokers isn't reduced at the rate of victim crimes or even at all that will be reflected in the statistics so that someone was a weed smoker, they would add more to the prison's expected recidivism rate. There are some very effective CBT based strategies, though (namely CRA and CRAFT) which can be very effective in reducing addiction, so I don't think drug crimes would be as difficult as you think to reduce. And I still think it would still be better to reduce some recidivism than reduce no recidivism, especially if the recidivism you're reducing is crimes with victims.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-02T23:58:08.604Z · LW · GW

A very good point! If someone dies, I guess their expected recidivism rate should drop to zero so as not to affect the rate that the prison is targeting.

And I wonder what the incentives are for parole boards and officers? Who controls regulations, bonuses, and promotions for this group? This is definitely something worth researching.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-02T23:55:52.399Z · LW · GW

Reduced recidivism bonuses don't say how to achieve reduced recidivism. This policy change would arguably be neither tougher nor softer on crime because it doesn't change the length of the sentences or make any value judgement on which treatment methods should be used.

In other words, if being soft on crime isn't working, then prisons don't get a bonus for being soft on crime. Everything we know about human psychology, though, says traumatic experiences make someone more likely to commit crime or suffer mental problems that contribute to increased crime risk, so I don't expect that harsher prisons are the answer. But who am I to know, let the data show what works.

Comment by lululu on A Proposal for Defeating Moloch in the Prison Industrial Complex · 2015-06-02T23:39:23.338Z · LW · GW

Evidence? Given the history of attempts at rehabilitation programs, this is a rather dubious statement.

Mostly just because of the coordination problems necessary to cook the books in a statistically meaningful way. Individual teachers cheat standardized tests all the time by staying late and correcting student's answers, but cooking the books to reduce the appearance of recidivism would involve a top-to-bottom conspiracy involving police precincts, parole boards and officers, and judges. And even then, the top-to-bottom conspiracy would benefit one prisons at the expense of other prisons so other prisons have incentive to call out the offenders among them. Rather than facing a coordination problem of that magnitude, with the concomitant risks of discovery and punishment which grow with every person in on the conspiracy, it seems a lot simpler and more effective to hire some good psychologists and job skill trainers. Its not so much that I have confidence in the prison system acting morally, its more that I have less confidence in prison system being able to manage a complicated scheme. Certainly there will be successful smaller-scale cheating and skimming off the top, as often is when state money is on the line, but not at the magnitude I would expect to see actual improvements in treatment.

Police are also incentivised to not appear "racist", look what happened to Darren Wilson after he shot a black thug who was going for his gun. Thus it is in their interest to avoid patrolling high-crime ghettoes, e.g., what happened in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

Not sure what you're getting at here. Certainly there are a lot of perverse incentives in the whole system, I wouldn't disagree with that. And the perverse incentives come from many directions with a lot of institutional force. I'm just not sure how this relates to my specific proposal. What are you expecting will happen on the police side if this change occurred?

Edit: Sorry, I just realized I might have misunderstood you. In your first comment, were you asking for evidence that small changes could lead to large gains? I was mostly basing that on the difference between US prison recidivism vs. Scandinavian countries. The US recidivism rate is 76%, Norway's is 20%. Their prisons are far more expensive than ours to run, but I doubt that every single percentage point of that 54% difference is from high-cost measures like individual rooms. Heck, reducing post prison PTSD from reducing prison rapes would probably be enough to drop at least a couple percentage points, and also just be a generally good thing. But the thing is, this plan isn't designed to give specific policy recommendations. The bonus structure should favor innovation rather than one specific program. Basically, prisons should try all sorts of plans to see what works to reduce recidivism.

Comment by lululu on Request for Advice : A.I. - can I make myself useful? · 2015-06-01T22:09:48.469Z · LW · GW

At some point, someone will need to crunch a lot of data in order to create some reliable heuristics by which a majority of virulent DNA could be flagged for further review or quarantine. Preferably the sequences could be uploaded and scanned automatically before they are synthesized. This would go a long way towards reducing a big extinction threat. The first true Virus Scanner?

To be effective, you might need to cooperate with someone who has more technical skills, but your partner would certainly need your assistance to interpret the DNA strands before they could be effective so it is a good match.

Comment by lululu on Six Ways To Get Along With People Who Are Totally Wrong* · 2015-05-28T20:48:10.311Z · LW · GW

Kind of. Its possible to cultivate a large network of high quality friends but it requires sifting through a large number of low quality non-friends, sometimes people whose low quality is not apparent until a significant investment has been made or a significant amount of friend entanglement has occurred. And you can't alienate the people you aren't sure of or already decided you don't want to promote to good friend status, because then you lose access to their networks and network affects can no longer continually refresh your friend pool and increase your friend quality. Still, I can easily think of 15 high quality friends off the top of my head because I've been continually sifting, and that number continues to grow.

Comment by lululu on When does technological enhancement feel natural and acceptable? · 2015-05-28T20:27:56.179Z · LW · GW

I think people are SEVERELY overestimating the utility of perfect memory (74% yes, 10% no), and underestimating the value of traumatic and unpleasant experiences fading over time. Some people currently have perfect memory, it is not a good experience.

A better selective memory is a good thing. Electing to remember where you placed your keys or the name of your mailman is a good idea. Having perfect memory of all the idiotic things you said or did during your first break up or that fight with your mom, or more importantly that time you were molested or almost died in combat is a recipe for emotional disaster and severe PTSD. Its very hard to control where your mind dwells and how memories are triggered, but slow fade and nostalgic filters protect us from the worst emotional damage of long-term rumination over negative events.

In addition to good memories, every angry word, every mistake, every disappointment, every shock and every moment of pain goes unforgotten. Time heals no wounds for Price. "I don't look back at the past with any distance. It's more like experiencing everything over and over again, and those memories trigger exactly the same emotions in me. It's like an endless, chaotic film that can completely overpower me. And there's no stop button."

She's constantly bombarded with fragments of memories, exposed to an automatic and uncontrollable process that behaves like an infinite loop in a computer. Sometimes there are external triggers, like a certain smell, song or word. But often her memories return by themselves. Beautiful, horrific, important or banal scenes rush across her wildly chaotic "internal monitor," sometimes displacing the present. "All of this is incredibly exhausting," says Price.

Comment by lululu on Six Ways To Get Along With People Who Are Totally Wrong* · 2015-05-27T15:59:40.393Z · LW · GW

Here is my favorite method -

Situation: Someone says something totally cuckoo crazy but they are someone I have to cooperate with in order to complete a task or who I have to maintain a good social relationship because we share friends or because they are otherwise cool. Also, the person is not convincible (I hang with hippies, this happens a lot).

Solution: a conspiratory shrug followed by "ehh... who can say, really" or "eh... the world is a strange place" or, if the statement is totally super crazy, just "ehh..."


"I switched to a gluten free diet and I think my energy centers really cleared up!" shrug "ehh... the world is a strange place"

"Why do people say its strange that I named my baby Glutenball? They just don't understand how gluten symbolizes the glue that holds us all together!" shrug "ehh... who can say really?"

"9/11 was a conspiracy by the gluten lobby!" shrug "ehh..."

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:44:11.890Z · LW · GW

see my comment on shminux's post ^^

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:42:43.276Z · LW · GW

I've always wanted this, but in a magical genie kind of way! OK cupid tries to do something like this by matching people pre-meeting. At an IRL interaction I can't imagine how a computer would figure this out before I did unless it had a very accurate idea of every personality in the group. So every person would have to have personality tests on file. Which I guess isn't implausible in the future!

I also wonder if this would silo people even more among others similar to them. If anti-vaxers only talk to other anti-vaxers, and none of them have ever been friends or talked to a proponent of vaccination, they have no reason to ever change their mind. People who grew up poor only talk to other people who grew up poor, and the same for those who grew up rich, so fewer unexpected opportunities for social mobility/job offers/connections.

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:34:51.876Z · LW · GW

Also note that most pre-cancerous and even post-cancerous cells are dealt with easily by the immune system. Its a very small minority of cancer cells that escape, you would end up just driving yourself crazy by sensing/noticing each one. This is why they aren't recommending mammograms, pap smears, or prostate exams as much or for as wide an age range as they used to, for young and healthy immune systems, treatment has worse outcomes than just letting the body do its thing.

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:29:17.014Z · LW · GW

I could see this successfully using face-recognition software and tied into the auditory sense. I can't remember where I read it, but I read that people on the autism spectrum respond as strongly to the emotions evoked in music as neurotypical people. An emotion decoding computer (those exist and are pretty good now) can decide whether a person's mood should be represented by a happy C chord or a sad D minor or an angry discordant sound or an stressed buzz, and the musicality would be a good non-invasive emotional injector/empathizator.

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:21:44.325Z · LW · GW \

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:15:54.627Z · LW · GW


Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-25T06:15:06.875Z · LW · GW

Somewhere in between your level of discomfort from not doing things and my level (which is 0)...

I think it would be kind of nice to have it embodied in an actual physical sensation like needing to pee, instead of a nagging and building sense of guilt and self-directed frustration? You could externalize those feelings and maybe it would let you train those skills without developing the same emotional ugh fields.

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-22T15:14:31.868Z · LW · GW

For the majority of pathogens this already exists. Certain ones like botulism are tasteless /odorless, but our built in chemorecepters are sensitive to the metabolites of most pathogens even at a high ppm (in other words, rotten/rancid food smells gross even when it is just starting to turn.)

Comment by lululu on Brainstorming new senses · 2015-05-21T19:40:03.580Z · LW · GW

How about: as a commitment mechanism, a small but nagging amount of discomfort related to your procrastination on a measurable task. I'm picturing this working something like the need to pee, with the difference that it resets at night: the discomfort could build throughout the day and instantly be resolved when you completed the task and reduced as you work toward the task.

For instance, if you committed to exercising a certain amount, accelerameters could estimate physical activity. for every step you took, your discomfort would decrease and for ever hour you sat on the couch, your discomfort would grow.

Possible commitments this would work with: exercise anki decks habbitrpg points spend a certain amount of time talking per day (for the recluse/introvert trying to train social skills)

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-20T19:46:52.658Z · LW · GW

Assume that you judge that re-entering the relationship will make you happier than not doing so.

This holds true if you are comparing it to being single and lonely, but off-and-on relationships bring only slightly more happiness than singlehood and much less happiness than stable relationships. By reentering the old unstable relationship you are incurring a very heavy opportunity cost of the greatly increased happiness you could get from a new and stable relationships you could enter into.

This logic falls apart in a poly relationship, though.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-20T19:40:20.141Z · LW · GW

Hahaha, third wave for psychiatry...we're pretty slow on the uptake.

I'm only familiar with the clinical western version, which is mindfulness based. So the main focus is on being aware in the current moment of sensations in your body and how they change. Basically just noticing. Also a very high emphasis on acceptance and gentle redirection back to the present moment when you notice that thoughts begin to form. Posture is whatever position is comfortable: a straight backed chair or laying on the ground.

I can see the similarities between the meditations you describe and the western version, but I can also definitely see why the practice has been modified to be more forgiving if it's aimed at depressed people. What you describe sounds very exacting which is probably not great for someone prone to berating themselves out of proportion. Most of the western versions I've heard include something like the phrase "if your mind wanders, this is to be expected. Your brain is a thinking machine and it's designed to do just that. Just gently bring it back to your breathing for as long as you can whenever you notice it wandering again."

I would be interested in trying to original versions. I attempted something like lovingkindness meditation, which is Tibetan and involves imagining and feeling compassion for someone you love, then trying to feel the same compassion for someone you feel neutral about, someone you don't get along with, then everyone. It seemed to have good results.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-20T19:25:09.124Z · LW · GW

Definitely! Attachment was the main problem I think. Attachment requires a confluence of a lot of happy emotions at high levels and in connection with a specific person. Happy emotions yes, but not at high enough levels I think.

For the record, after I wrote my last post I realized I had never actually asked him if my best guess of why he ended it was accurate. According to him, mostly accurate but my low conscientiousness was less of a factor then I assumed, but low energy was a factor in terms of me wanting to do things with our mutual friends and him not wanting to.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-19T21:38:58.944Z · LW · GW

I will definitely update in a few months! I'm curious too...

Very interesting link! Gender differences are definitely non-trivial, I'm just not sure in which ways.

In my specific case he had a slightly easier time securing post-breakup dates because he already was dating someone (however that someone is pretty emotionally unhealthy by any measure, herself going through a psychological crisis). My low conscientiousness meant that, despite improving in this realm, he did more of the traditional caretaking (chores, cooking, cleaning), meanwhile I got a heavier emotional caretaking load. He is certainly more socially isolated than me. And the break up definitely hit him harder.

I wish I could speak more to gender in a general way, I'm just not sure exactly how a breakup differently effects someone who is not my gender, and I have a very hard time in my case of separating which effects are gendered and which are personal (depression, consciousnesses, etc)

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-19T21:26:23.210Z · LW · GW

Smiling Mind is an excellent and very low commitment course on the basics of mindfulness meditiation.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-19T21:25:03.547Z · LW · GW

Maybe the information that isn't being conveyed is the subjective experience of being inside a brain reshaped by meditation practice?

Smiling Mind is an excellent and very low commitment course on the basics of mindfulness meditiation.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-19T20:52:33.308Z · LW · GW

It is perfectly normal to not want to get over it, because you cherish the feeling of love even though it hurts now to a letting go.

There is a certain sweetness and poetic appeal to being sad for love's sake, though I'm not sure if it is a healthy thing to wallow in for extended times.

On the other hand, suppressing your sadness directly is a sure way for those feelings to become stronger and more powerful, feeling suppression is an ironic process. The stronger your efforts to suppress your unhappiness, the more powerless against them you become. (

Like rumination, sadness must be acknowledged and then dismissed. A helpful attitude is something like "I am sad now and I have permission to be sad now, but I will not let the current sadness stop me from attempting things that might make me happier. Sadness is just a disembodied thought and so is powerless to forever control my actions."

So I think I understand your gist, but the phrasing is a bit off. I don't think it is helpful to advise people on how to get over it if they don't want that. I also think it counts as dwelling in and ruminating on sadness, which is an unhealthy way of dealing with feelings. And I also think the people who don't want to get over it wouldn't be seeking out this post.

I'm going to edit the post to mention meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a third wave technique with fantastic clinical results in reducing sadness and rumination. The attitude of mindfulness allows you to become aware of your thoughts without dwelling in them or being trapped by them. You assess each thought or feeling, acknowledge it, and move on to the next one.

If you have slight depression, it seems like your brain might be biased to notice the passing of good things more often than the bad, despite the knowledge that all things pass. All negative feelings are just as temporary as positive ones, all negative life events are just as temporary as positive ones. If you appreciate Buddhism, but you might find that you grock the impermanence of sadness and negative things better if you take up mindfulness mediation. After learning meditation techniques, just 5 minutes of maintenance meditation a day did as well as medication for alleviating mild depression, about as long as brushing your teeth takes.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-19T19:41:52.708Z · LW · GW

By using the word calm, I think I did a poor job of explaining what neuroticism means and implies. I think the Wikipedia page would be best for this, but my own experience is that I feel the same range and variety of emotions, I just deal with negative emotions in an extremely healthy and productive way, so the duration of negative feelings tends to be shorter and positive feeling tend to last longer. My attachment style is secure and my empathy is unusually strong, so from at least my perspective it wasn't a relationship of two people just doing things together.

Depression and depression medications both cause emotional blunting, though. So at times I know he felt like he was just going through the motions. The feeling wasn't specific to the relationship but included other aspects of life: friends, work, etc. People in deep depression tend to perpetuate it by imposing their own social isolation, which is a very maladaptive behavior. This emotional blunting is, in the end, the factor that ended our relationship.

But assuming that a relationship between a depressed person and a healthy person is necessarily of low quality is reasoning that leads in a direction I am strongly opposed to.

I don't think a relationship with a severely depressed person is likely to last as long (though I don't have data on this). But I emphatically wouldn't discourage people from dating for that reason. I'm having trouble explaining why, I feel so strongly about this. Not pursuing romantic love because it doesn't last forever or isn't absolutely perfect is... not the correct approach for optimising human happiness. For a depressed person, social support can create larger gains in net happiness because the starting happiness is so low, even if the absolute happiness doesn't get as high. I certainly don't regret our relationship, we both gained a lot from it.

Often when I talk someone who doesn't know my ex, and I tell them I recently broke up, they immediately invent a laundry list of reasons our relationship was low quality. As I give more information, their suggestions become more and more confident and specific, but just as far from reality. I'm happy to share what actually factored into our break up, in the spirit of full disclosure.

In addition to emotional blunting, my low conscientious became more stressful as his energy levels dropped. New relationships are more intense, which means a larger appeal to someone with blunted emotions--the new but non-serious person he was dating reminded him of the possibility. Finally, neither of us had ever planned to make a marriage-level commitment so our threshold for breaking up was probably lower than people working towards that goal. I hope this is helpful for getting a better picture.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-19T18:13:25.937Z · LW · GW

Partially because I forgot that it was a wiki, thanks for the reminder! I don't know, though, it's a very personal story of one person's journey, super narrative based. I think it might be more appropriate if I linked to this from there and they remain separate.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-18T22:06:33.268Z · LW · GW

It was very helpful for me to read your wiki about your break up, some very good advice there! I think it is also very helpful to see people who have gone through difficult break ups and returned to their normal level of happiness. Impact bias makes it hard to remember that very few things have lasting negative effects on happiness.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-18T21:58:41.589Z · LW · GW

I should say that research shows people had better outcomes recovering from break ups when they started dating someone. I'm not sure if this is because it makes you feel wanted, because of selection bias (more people who dated were ready to date), or because the new relationship itself. On the other hand, overwhelming colloquial knowledge has it that rebound relationships are not a good idea, but I couldn't find actual any evidence to that effect. I'm not totally sure which to believe; the science is strong evidence from a small sample size, colloquial evidence is weak evidence from a huge sample size.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-18T21:57:12.178Z · LW · GW

I'm not totally sure about how to classify a rebound relationship, a cursory Google search shows that most of the sources on this are Cosmo and Yahoo Answers. I define it to myself as a relationship which is started because of the end of a prior relationship. It is either to stop from being lonely or to move on from the ex. The new relationship is compared and/or contrasted with the old one. The new one doesn't have room to become it's own thing. Usually they seem to move faster and burn out sooner than normal relationships. But that is just my definition, anyone else have any thoughts on how to answer this question?

And thank you!

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-18T21:45:32.643Z · LW · GW

For the purposes of this post, it isn't meaningful what state my relationship was in when it ended. Many or most people reading this will have much less peaceful break ups than I (although maybe less surprising)

I do think you're making a lot of assumptions with this. I never said he didn't reciprocate. I don't require emotional support because I am very calm, as I said, with a very low neuroticism. On the other hand, I'm in the 5 percentile for conscientiousness (barely conscientious at all!), so he kept me from losing things, kept me on time, kept me on task, made sure I completed projects I cared about, did extra chores, and cleaned up after me without complaint. A healthy relationship is difficult when both partners need exactly the same amount of support in the same areas.

I actually wanted to have an open relationship several months before he requested it, but I wrote it off as an impossibility until he independently raised the possibility. I was excited about the new options, but I also became the founder of a start-up in this same time window, which is astoundingly time consuming, and this on top of a day job. Not dating wasn't really a product of my lack of excitement about the possibilities of dating.

All that said, obviously he wasn't happy in the relationship and it did come as a surprise at the time, so I clearly wasn't noticing something, or noticing something and not acknowledging it. I do think our continuing friendship is something of a good sign for the overall state of the prior relationship at the time it ended though.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-18T21:27:41.504Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I read during my initial research and I really appreciated the last section, New Directions, as directly relevant to my situation

Comment by lululu on Open Thread, May 18 - May 24, 2015 · 2015-05-18T20:17:06.266Z · LW · GW

OK, thank you. This is my first LessWrong post. I posted to discussion, hopefully it will find its place.

Comment by lululu on Strategies and tools for getting through a break up · 2015-05-18T18:43:46.092Z · LW · GW

Here are a couple of the papers I saw that described this similarity:

Addiction isn't the only thing that happens in that part of the brain, and that isn't the only part of the brain that is active. But the addiction/craving similarity is the most useful metaphor for someone going through a break up because it emphasizes that wanting something very strongly is not the same thing as it being good for you, and getting what you want does not make the wanting go away.

You are right, though, that paragraph is pretty neurobabbley. I have a tendency to use a lot of unnecessary jargon so I try to reduce it as much as possible. And also, this is my first post on LessWrong. Should I edit above?

Comment by lululu on Open Thread, May 18 - May 24, 2015 · 2015-05-18T16:04:14.140Z · LW · GW

When should a draft be posted in discussion and when should it be posted in LessWrong?

I just wrote a 3000+ word post on science-supported/rational strategies to get over a break-up, I'm not sure where to put it!

Comment by lululu on Sharing about my mental illness and popularizing future-oriented thinking: feedback appreciated! · 2015-05-18T04:13:46.238Z · LW · GW

I can think of two, but I also think the number of people who don't use long-term thinking and should far outweighs the number of people who do and shouldn't, so I still think that teaching that skill is a great idea.

  1. If someone doesn't know the amount of time or effort to complete a goal, they could end up very unhappily pouring effort into a sunk-cost situation because they are imagining a long-term (but not guaranteed) future where that goal is achieved. In this situation, present-oriented thinking would be more useful.

  2. Future (or past) oriented thinking can be a form of rumination, often seen in depression. In this situation, someone imagines every possible future, over and over, and extremely pessimistically, which leads to a sense of powerlessness. Present oriented thinking is EXTREMELY useful to combat rumination, which is why mindfulness based depression interventions have the same success rate as actual drugs.

Nevertheless, this is promoting a more goal-oriented long-term thinking exercise that doesn't really run on the same circuits as rumination. Case 1 could still be a pitfall, but promoting long-term thinking will probably help far more people than it hurts.

Comment by lululu on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-16T16:49:20.658Z · LW · GW

Yeah! I think its a great idea, I was considering doing this anyway. Expect a post in the next couple days! I finally have enough karma to write one now (long time lurker, this is a new account)

Comment by lululu on California Drought thread · 2015-05-13T18:45:11.711Z · LW · GW

You're correct that modern farming techniques are fairly efficient, but within the confines of any specific crop being grown. Efficiently watered corn, for instance, still takes less water input than efficiently watered rice, millet takes less water still. Techniques are good but crop selection is questionable. Beef/alfalfa is the thing on the top of my mind when I say this.

Comment by lululu on California Drought thread · 2015-05-13T18:37:30.864Z · LW · GW

Looks like almost twice as much goes to lawn maintenance as to the entire industrial and commercial sectors, and by contrast, lawns have absolutely no productivity or economic benefits.

Comment by lululu on Guidelines for Upvoting and Downvoting? · 2015-05-13T18:32:26.918Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I've been downvoted to a negative number in Quora with a nice, detailed, science based article about why someone's "recently recovered early-childhood memory" were probably not reliable enough for her to publicly accuse someone of molesting children and without first talking to a counselor and preferably a councilor who understood memory. It was all very reasonable and with ample evidence to support every statement.

I got down-voted to negative by a guy who said she should try a past-life regression and literally used the phrase "sort of a quantum parallel worlds reincarnation metaphysics with possibility of memory across various worlds and/or lives". (Actually, if you guys could upvote me on that, I'm genuinely worried that other people with similar recovered images will find his advice and be unable to see my comment and that lives and relationships will be destroyed, the thread is

Comment by lululu on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-13T18:02:13.836Z · LW · GW

This one is pretty personal. After being surprise broken up with at the end of a very rewarding 5 year long relationship, I immediately looked up papers on how people recover from break-ups, what leads to best outcomes, how people can internalize lessons learned in relationships, etc.

When I discovered that getting over the relationship itself is different from no longer liking the person on the other side of the relationship, I was able to do the work to get over the relationship itself in about 4 to 5 days. (actually, it was exponential, most of the results were in the first day, with a long tail of results over the past two weeks). I'm defining being over a relationship as no longer identifying with it, no longer feeling like half of something bigger, no longer missing the feelings of that relationship, feeling that it really was for the best, and being genuinely happy with the current state of affairs.

While I realize I might never "get over" having affection+lust this person, who I still consider my best friend, I am now no more likely to want to take action on those feelings than on my feelings for the many friends I've had crushes on over the years, and in fact probably a lot LESS likely since science says it would be a bad idea. So a lingering crush is really no big deal. I can comfortably hug or have real talks with this person without feeling the pangs of missing out on more, and can happily reflect on good memories without any tinge of sadness.

I am now dating someone else, and not in a rebound way. I considered waiting longer than two weeks, but after looking at the literature, I decided not to because of the measurable happiness gains of being in a relationship, plus my general tendency not to ruminate/dwell, plus my genuine not-wanting to get back together (plus, obviously my feelings for this new person).