DC Winter Solstice 2021-11-30T21:29:18.078Z
Book review: Lost Connections by Johann Hari 2021-10-20T02:40:09.443Z
DC Summer Solstice Picnic 2021-05-14T19:49:03.045Z
Meetup Cookbook 2018-07-14T22:26:26.853Z
How To Build A Community Full Of Lonely People 2017-05-17T15:25:18.478Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Projects 2017-03-17T05:31:27.574Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Cooking 2017-03-02T02:26:24.490Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Projects 2017-02-19T17:51:23.728Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Board Games 2017-02-09T04:52:59.139Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Stories 2017-02-03T01:21:26.553Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Group Debugging 2017-01-26T06:13:01.881Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Revealed New Year's Resolutions 2017-01-04T21:46:54.589Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Short Talks 2016-12-15T05:01:41.855Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Projects 2016-12-11T20:18:22.488Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Cooking 2016-12-02T03:04:05.355Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Mini Talks 2016-09-22T15:23:22.590Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Projects 2016-09-11T20:36:48.767Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Fun and Games 2016-08-20T15:13:24.383Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Group Debugging 2016-08-11T04:59:20.298Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Projects 2016-08-04T00:44:27.342Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Fun and Games 2016-07-28T04:18:37.589Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Very Short Talks 2016-07-22T00:24:54.425Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Cooking 2016-06-30T15:24:13.355Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Projects 2016-06-23T16:03:54.960Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Fun and Games 2016-06-14T15:09:50.573Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Group Debugging 2016-06-09T16:24:57.186Z
Meetup : SF Meetup: Stories 2016-06-02T02:25:40.802Z
Meetup : San Francisco Meetup: Board Games 2016-03-16T02:01:03.053Z
Meetup : San Francisco Meetup: Group Debugging 2016-03-14T14:37:08.516Z
Meetup : San Francisco Meetup: TED talks 2015-10-25T17:41:39.919Z
Meetup : San Francisco Meetup: Projects 2015-08-27T15:05:36.951Z
Meetup : Washington DC: Robin Hanson visits to talk about giving 2014-03-25T17:47:07.818Z
Meetup : Washington DC: Anthropics with Robin Hanson 2013-10-21T03:58:55.739Z
Meetup : Washington, DC: Goals 2013-08-30T20:13:42.473Z
Meetup : Washington DC meetup: Robin Hanson visits again 2013-08-14T01:50:37.453Z
[Link] You May Already Be Aware of Your Cognitive Biases 2013-02-21T13:23:58.792Z
Meetup : Washington, DC Meetup with Special Guest 2012-12-19T04:43:35.222Z
Meetup : DC Meetup: Games and Conversation 2012-10-17T23:40:34.608Z
[LINK] Learning without practice, through fMRI induction 2012-10-07T03:15:09.561Z
[POLL RESULTS] LessWrong Members and their Local Communities 2012-05-21T16:37:17.426Z
[POLL] Do You Feel Oppressed? 2012-05-03T02:42:27.005Z
[LINK] System 2 thinking decreases religious belief 2012-04-27T13:36:47.077Z


Comment by maia on School Daze · 2022-01-14T21:47:51.694Z · LW · GW

Both the child and parents can face legal consequences if they do this unilaterally. I found this by googling "usa truancy laws":

But there are some ways around this, e.g. signing your kid up for "home schooling" (this may be difficult and require your kid to take tests, depending on your state), switching to a private school, convincing the school that the student's absence should be excused, etc. For "why aren't they doing it": bad reasons, see the rest of this post.

Comment by maia on AMA: I was unschooled for most of my childhood, then voluntarily chose to leave to go to a large public high school. · 2022-01-07T22:08:41.932Z · LW · GW

You said unschooling had a big impact on your life. Do you think it was positive or negative on net?

If you had kids of your own, would you unschool them, homeschool them, or do something else?

What differences have you noticed between yourself and non-unschooled peers?

Comment by maia on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-06T23:52:25.071Z · LW · GW

I really like this idea. I'm not able to participate this year for medical reasons, but would like to in the future.

Comment by maia on What would you like from How valuable would it be to you? · 2021-12-29T15:10:12.781Z · LW · GW

Making your risk tolerance more customizable would be helpful. My policy with microcovid from the very beginning has been to look at the numbers and basically ignore the "high risk / medium risk" designations, because they don't match my risk tolerance and that divergence has only increased over the course of the pandemic (now that I'm vaccinated, 1 uCov is less costly because it carries less risk with it).

Comment by maia on Omicron: My Current Model · 2021-12-28T18:26:24.737Z · LW · GW

What form of zinc are you suggesting people take?

Comment by maia on Covid 11/11: Winter and Effective Treatments Are Coming · 2021-11-11T21:32:21.107Z · LW · GW

[Vaccinations graphs]

Did you mean to fill this in before posting?

Comment by maia on Is there a clearly laid-out write-up of the case to drop Covid precautions? · 2021-11-09T15:09:44.489Z · LW · GW

I notice this one came out in May (and the comments are from then too). It would be nice to see a post along these lines that's post-Delta.

Comment by maia on Indoor dancing is safe enough · 2021-10-31T03:09:08.993Z · LW · GW

I think you're missing another big factor here: being within 3 feet of a single person for 2 hours is VERY different from being within 3 feet of a different single person, every 5 minutes, for 2 hours. I believe microCOVID actually maxes out the risk of catching COVID from a single person in less than that amount of time.

Comment by maia on Covid 10/21: Rogan vs. Gupta · 2021-10-27T15:31:26.529Z · LW · GW

Wow. I found this hard to believe so I looked it up, and indeed:

Mental health conditions

Having mood disorders, including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.

Comment by maia on Shoulder Advisors 101 · 2021-10-11T20:38:02.030Z · LW · GW

It's also important to avoid bad shoulder advisors. I've spent several years trying to reduce the influence of miniature copies of abusive family members on my thinking.

EDIT: The most effective counter I've found for this is to 1) Notice that the thought I just had is actually coming from a bad source, 2) Remind myself that that person wanted me to believe/act that way for selfish and narcissistic reasons, and I shouldn't take their advice for the same reason I wouldn't take moral suggestions from people who go around kicking puppies.

Comment by maia on Consider Taking Zinc Every Time You Travel · 2021-10-01T16:59:12.109Z · LW · GW

Why not both?

Comment by maia on Is there a beeminder without the punishment? · 2021-09-14T14:57:24.817Z · LW · GW

Beeminder has a mode that lets you have a goal with no punishment. You have to pay for their highest-tier monthly subscription, though ($24/mo IIRC).

Comment by maia on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-10T15:11:08.356Z · LW · GW

+1, I had a similar experience when living upstate in a place that was "an hour+". I did visit the city a few times, but it was a pretty big hassle. Definitely try out the exact commute before drawing conclusions.

Comment by maia on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-05-05T20:34:32.331Z · LW · GW

Welp. I lose points on this one

Wasn't expecting them to bend but it seems they are after all.

Comment by maia on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-04-27T16:10:44.732Z · LW · GW

Fair. I was also debating between 5-10%.

I have some inside information on this as an ex-Alphabet employee; I have a strong impression that execs do not want to do this. Employees were clamoring for a policy statement on this for months and they hemmed, hawed, dodged the question, delayed for months, and ultimately refused.

New strains could delay things more, but I would be surprised if they don't ultimately make people go back to the office as soon as they reasonably can. Presence in Mountain View or occasionally other offices is one of the few places where employees really want something and Alphabet execs, historically, have drawn a fairly hard line that they can't have it.

Comment by maia on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-04-27T02:33:23.931Z · LW · GW

21. Google widely allows remote work, no questions asked: 20%

I don’t know about the situation at Google but assuming they currently still do this I think it’s more likely than this that they keep doing it. If this is a blind prediction and Scott knows nothing I don’t know, I’d buy to 30%. 

Easy money. If this were a month ago I wouldn't be quite as sure, but Google has outright said they will not do this:

Comment by maia on Vaccination and House Rules · 2021-04-26T15:14:20.740Z · LW · GW

Our current house rules are:
* Fully vaccinated people are "invisible", at least in small groups -- they can come over and you can interact with them indoors freely.
* Gatherings where EVERY person is at least 2 weeks past the first dose, and it's small enough to verify this, are fine.

The rationale for rule #2 is: the numbers I've seen seem to roughly suggest that a fully vaccinated person interacting with an unvaccinated person has about the same transmission risk (~5%) as two people who are both two weeks past the first dose (20% * 20%).

Sticking with outdoor socialization for now, especially with people you don't know or can't verify the vaccine status of, seems like a pretty good idea. I expect we'll need to have more conversations about this once larger indoor gatherings seem like they might make sense.

Comment by maia on Covid 3/12: New CDC Guidelines Available · 2021-03-13T03:54:45.015Z · LW · GW

I have a family member in the "wait and see" group. Why? I think: their main source of truth about the world comes from friends and family; they are generally skeptical of the medical establishment and authorities; and they won't really believe the vaccine is OK until many people they know have had it and nothing bad has happened, and/or people they trust tell them it's fine.

I told them I'm getting it as soon as I can, and I'm happy to be their guinea pig. I think it may help -- once I'm actually able to get a vaccine, that is.

Comment by maia on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-02T23:09:30.264Z · LW · GW

This post really bothered me. I think perhaps the best way to sum it up is this old post of Kelsey's:

Also... just because you're dealing with a lot of fear, exhaustion, and trauma, and someone else isn't, doesn't mean you can trust them enough to outsource your decision-making process to them.

Also... it seems really unreasonable to say "if you can't handle 10 hours of grueling negotiations about what COVID precautions to take, you're weak and I need to cut you out of my life and/or take away decisionmaking power from you during times of stress." I would guess that, uhh, most people are weak by that definition.

Comment by maia on Weighted Voting Delenda Est · 2021-03-01T20:58:14.107Z · LW · GW

It seems you think that people weighting how much to believe something based on whether the author is a Big Name is a bad thing. I get that. But I don't understand why you think weighted voting in particular makes this problem worse?

Comment by maia on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-01T18:34:10.866Z · LW · GW

Also, I specifically want to say: Thank you for writing this post, even though it's very vulnerable and suggests that both you and your housemates were wrong about a really important thing. Please accept this gift of hedons and social status in exchange.

This is an important conversation for all of us to have.

Comment by maia on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-01T16:31:00.043Z · LW · GW

Thanks for posting this. A lot of relatable feels and useful takeaways here.

(Reposting some of this from a lower-level comment)

From this post and my own experience, I'm getting the sense that living in a large group house was actually a pretty big detriment for many folks during COVID. You'd think it would be a good thing, because you can get your social bar filled just socializing with each other. And maybe that's true. But it increases the amount of negotiation about risks literally exponentially, which makes it much easier to lapse into a default of "nothing is allowed and no one does anything." Even though that's actually very costly.

It was much easier for me and my spouse to handle negotiation about e.g. "I want to go on bike rides because my sanity is at critical levels," because that was basically just one negotiation we had to have, instead of having 8 similarly-sized negotiations for each risky thing each person wanted to do and every objection brought up by every other person.

Also, we're married and have been together for almost 10 years, so we've had a lot more practice at this kind of thing with the two of us. I also enjoyed your earlier post about how being in a group house together doesn't mean you're ready to be, basically, married to all the people you live with, meaning you aren't ready to have these huge life-changing negotiations about collective decisions that you need to make together. Whereas in marriage that sort of thing is par for the course.

Comment by maia on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-01T16:22:21.289Z · LW · GW

We were like this for about a month, then my sanity dropped to critical levels, forcing us to have a conversation about what we were ok with in terms of like, going outside. This resulted in me going on bike rides very frequently all summer, which helped A LOT.

Then in late summer, we had another "figure out what probabilities we are OK with" session and decided that we were going to categorically allow hanging out masked and outside, because the sanity/risk tradeoff seemed very good.

(Then we moved to DC and a whole lot of things happened that we would otherwise not have been OK with risk-wise, but were necessary for moving, which we felt was very beneficial overall.)

At this point we're still at "don't go indoors at a place with other people" (we grocery shop only via delivery/pickup), "categorically allow masked outdoor hangouts." Also, we will go indoors with a P100/N95/KN95 if it's a rare and necessary event such as medical treatment.

Feels to me from reading the post that A) Having these conversations was MUCH more difficult for OP, because she lives in a house with many other people, whereas Roger and I mostly had these conversations with just the two of us and to a lesser extent our two roommates who mostly just cooperated, B) We actually had much fewer of these conversations early on? We tried to keep it to just what we needed to make a couple very specific decisions ("is it OK for me to go on bike rides"), which I guess was also easier because there were fewer people and so fewer variables that needed to be tracked.

I guess a takeaway I have here is that it seems like 2020 was a good year to live with exactly one partner who you are very close with. Enough other-human for sanity, not so much other-human to increase the negotiation burden drastically. Seems like the difficulty of allowing people to do more things increases exponentially the more people you live with, which makes it hard for things not to lapse into "by default no one does anything even slightly risky despite the massive sanity damage."

Comment by maia on How do you optimize productivity with respect to your menstrual cycle? · 2021-02-09T13:29:28.243Z · LW · GW

I think your symptoms are substantially worse than average. I've only spoken to or heard of one other person with symptoms that bad -- Julia Wise, actually, who has written about it on her blog.

Mine are also probably worse than average, but not as bad as you describe. I'm usually unable to work or do much other than read or some other low-key activity because of pain, for about half a day to a full day at a time. I've never experienced vomiting due to pain.

I got an IUD ~7 years ago that basically made the problem go away completely. I've had a couple instances of extremely severe pain with the IUD that were so bad I went to the ER, but since it mostly deleted my menstrual cycle and there were only a few bad days in many years, I feel it was a good deal on net.

I would +1 all the commenters here saying you should investigate more birth control options that could mitigate the severity -- and probably try to find better doctors, if you can. I think it's a common experience for period pain to be dismissed as unimportant or not worth spending effort to fix, but that's utter bullshit.

I've gotten a lot of mental mileage out of thinking of it as "This is a minor physical disability that I have," and try to think how I would want to work around it if it were a Real DisabilityTM. For example, I used to feel guilt about taking time off work because I was in so much pain that I couldn't concentrate, because "periods are normal, if I can't work during this normal thing, then that means I'm a bad employee." Instead, I changed my thinking around it to be more like "This is a disability I have, and so my employer can accommodate it. If it's a problem for them that I have to take off half a day here and there, we can discuss it and negotiate it, but I'm not actually able to work right now, so there's no point staying here and pretending."

Comment by maia on Covid 1/28: Muddling Through · 2021-01-28T19:21:32.109Z · LW · GW

Re: syringes:

President Biden highlighted the urgent need to produce more of the specialty syringes — called low dead space syringes, because they are more efficient — in his pandemic response plan unveiled this week. His administration said it plans to use the Defense Production Act to procure more of the specialty syringes.

The Biden administration and Pfizer finalized a deal Friday that will allow the government to track which shipments are accompanied by low dead space syringes and which are not, according to an individual close to the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the details.

Vials accompanied by regular syringes will be counted as five doses against Pfizer’s contract for 200 million shots, and those accompanied by special syringes will count as six shots toward contract fulfillment.

Comment by maia on Appendices to cryonics signup sequence · 2021-01-28T02:42:20.406Z · LW · GW

Mostly! Do you plan to do any posts on the other funding options, e.g. a trust? I generally prefer to pay for things as one-time expenses rather than recurring expenses due to my financial situation, and paying a large amount all at once is not an obstacle. I'm mainly concerned with total lifetime cost.

(edit to add) If that's not something you've looked into much since it's not relevant to many people, I'd also be interested in any sources or other folks you could point to about this.

Comment by maia on Appendices to cryonics signup sequence · 2021-01-22T13:52:42.051Z · LW · GW

As far as I can calculate, this option is never cheaper than using life insurance, so you should only do it if you are uninsurable (e.g. if you have already been diagnosed with a terminal illness) or if you're in a huge hurry (e.g. you have less than six months left to live)...

Would you mind showing your work on this?

Comment by maia on Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns · 2021-01-07T17:41:13.236Z · LW · GW

Still reading through the rest of the post, but this jumped out at me. Your dad said:

convalescent sera from some patients recovered  from infection with the predominant strain, while effective in neutralizing the same strain, were not effective in neutralizing the South African variant. 

But you then said:

it seems highly unlikely the new strain can do much reinfection of previously infected individuals

which seems to me to be the opposite. If convalescent sera from patients who recovered from infection with the predominant strain were NOT effective in neutralizing the South African variant... doesn't that suggest that having had the predominant COVID variant might NOT give you immunity to the South African variant?

Trying to nail this down because this point is SUPER IMPORTANT actually.

Comment by maia on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2020-12-29T16:37:55.998Z · LW · GW

Depends on what you mean by "pessimistic," I guess. I think my model back in March was that basically everyone would dismiss COVID as being "like the flu"; tons of people would die; but no one would really pay much attention to it.

Instead, people actually freaked out about it and lots of people actually got overly into enforcing quarantine restrictions on each other. I was expecting that people would fail to even parse the small chance of death by COVID as sufficiently important to be worth worrying about, and that didn't turn out to be true.

I agree that the real outcome is much worse than we could have done overall, with e.g. mass testing or challenge trials -- though I don't agree that this is clearly worse than runaway herd immunity. Back-of-the-envelope calculation: if 1% of the US population died of COVID, that's around 3 million deaths, which in VSL terms is around $30T. The US's GDP for one year is around $20T. My error bars on the validity of VSL at that scale are pretty large, as is my uncertainty about comparing GDP to VSL, and other non-GDP considerations of lockdown... but the two certainly seem comparable in magnitude, and I weakly think that lockdown is better in terms of total social utility.

(edit: of course we're at ~300k deaths now, which changes the analysis by 10% or so; still seems like the calculation comes out about the same as of right now. The effect of another huge wave could change this calculation substantially.)

Comment by maia on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2020-12-28T13:43:29.996Z · LW · GW

Zvi and many others on LW (including myself in this) totally failed to predict how people in the US would react to this virus. From this, I've updated that we're bad at predicting how politics and humans will respond to novel unexpected events, and probably a bit overly pessimistic about other humans' ability to be persuaded by rational argument and Real Bad Stuff happening.

I think that predicting the course of the disease or predicting whether a certain variant is more infectious is mostly a different kind of prediction from predicting people's behavior.

Unfortunately, people's behavior in response to the new strain is also really important for how bad it will get, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Comment by maia on Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong · 2020-12-20T14:09:24.809Z · LW · GW

I think in words, and also, specifically with letters. If I don't know both the spelling of someone's name and how the spelling corresponds to the pronunciation phonetically, it is MUCH harder for me to remember.

Comment by maia on Covid 12/10: Vaccine Approval Day in America · 2020-12-10T23:01:00.187Z · LW · GW

Here’s the order for Los Angeles. Everyone must stay in their homes. Among other details, podcasts are explicitly exempt, religious services must be outdoors but are otherwise all right, and protests are explicitly allowed. Malls open, playgrounds closed. I think I sense a protest coming on


They reopened playgrounds. Source

Comment by maia on Covid 12/3: Land of Confusion · 2020-12-04T16:19:33.282Z · LW · GW

Agree. I don't have Twitter blocked, but generally regard it as a memetic hazard to be avoided if possible.

Comment by maia on Pain is not the unit of Effort · 2020-11-28T19:07:08.393Z · LW · GW

Small correction: DOMS is a distinct phenomenon from pain during exercise, which usually means that you are doing something wrong and may be injuring yourself.

DOMS occurs 1-2 days after exercise, as mentioned in the NHS quote.

Comment by maia on Why Boston? · 2020-11-25T22:58:35.445Z · LW · GW


Comment by maia on Philosophy of Therapy · 2020-10-22T13:13:02.660Z · LW · GW

One part of your post jumped out at me as something that's hard to reproduce without therapy:

> Experiment for yourself, by all means, but my experience has been that a very brief conversation, coming at the right moment, can be incredibly therapeutic. Or an in-depth conversation every few months. Or support from a friend along with all the other self-help strategies that commonly work for mental/emotional problems. 

Getting help from a friend at the right moment can be very helpful. But sometimes your friends aren't available at the exact right moment, just because of things in their own life or whatever. The nice thing about paying a professional is that you're paying for reliability. If you can't find someone to talk to when you really need it on a given week, at least your therapist will be around.

Comment by maia on A tale from Communist China · 2020-10-21T00:47:19.615Z · LW · GW

I found it mildly useful to hear about someone's experiences in this kind of situation, and it's an interesting story.

It's also a very easily digestible post.

Comment by maia on Why Boston? · 2020-10-13T14:35:44.389Z · LW · GW

... huh, is that the thing that makes it mysteriously easier for me to talk to people from the East Coast?

Comment by maia on Why Boston? · 2020-10-12T13:42:25.671Z · LW · GW

Well, we've just moved from SF to the DC area, so I guess I should comment somewhere with our thoughts on the decision. To be honest, I think Boston is objectively mostly better for us than DC, but personal reasons -- our own family -- are overwhelming the other ones.

On specific points:

  • Industries -- Boston and DC are similar on this axis, I would say, depending on whether you count government as one industry or many (since there are many jobs in DC that come out of government).
  • Programming jobs -- Boston is much better. DC has lots of programming jobs, but they mostly pay less and/or are for the military.
  • Walkability overall is probably a bit better in Boston.
  • Natural disasters -- mostly the same. No blizzards in Maryland/DC.
  • Governance -- I don't feel all that qualified to comment. Maryland is probably similar; DC has governance problems due to its unique position as the nation's capital, which makes it illegal for it to govern itself in a few ways.
  • Queer and poly friendliness -- I'm not sure how this shakes out. I think Massachusetts is pretty friendly to being gay specifically, but perhaps less tolerant of other kinds of weirdness. When visiting, as someone who grew up in DC, I do feel the "Puritan" vibe a bit. But it's complicated. DC also has pressure to appear "normal," much more so than anywhere on the West Coast. I think in general the Northeast loses here, but maybe not by as much as you'd think. (In my experience, lots of folks who say "The Bay Area is the only place I could live, because of the queer-friendliness!" have only been to two places: the Bay and the Midwest or Utah. The Northeast is  more like the former than the latter, IMO.)
  • Multi-unit houses -- Boston definitely wins here. There are a few options in e.g. Takoma Park, but DC in general isn't great for this.
  • Schools -- Complicated. Montgomery County has very good schools, but housing prices are unfortunately very closely correlated with school districts here.
  • Airport -- DC has not one but three major international airports, one of which is accessible by train, another which will be accessible by train in the next couple years, and a third which has a solid bus corridor.
  • Medical care -- Not sure, probably similar.
  • Weather -- Maryland summers are hotter, but winters are much less inconvenient, though perhaps less beautiful -- much less snow. YMMV on this. Personally, I strongly prefer East Coast summer to West Coast non-summer. If you've lived your whole life on the West Coast, I predict there are shades of green you have literally never seen.
  • Dance and music -- Boston wins at this, although the DC area scene is not shabby either. IIUC, Glen Echo is the largest weekly contradance in the country and probably the world, with typical attendance of over 300. And the Spanish Ballroom is very beautiful. But, we certainly can't compete with the sheer variety and popularity of traditional dance and music in Boston.
  • Housing -- DC seems to be somewhat cheaper. We live in exactly the type of 2-bedroom apartment you mentioned, walking distance from the subway and 30 minutes to downtown, and are paying about 1.8k for it. The pandemic doesn't seem to have affected prices as much here, since it's a smaller city with less tech industry. (Plenty of 'essential' workers in government.)
  • Urban-to-rural continuum -- That sort of exists here, but DC pushes prices up for a much further radius than Boston does. So you don't get as much of a discount for being rural.

But, for what it's worth to anyone considering this area: we're most likely here for the long haul, and we have a habit of making meetups and building community wherever we go. I suspect having a few solid, unmoveable pillars like Jeff and Julia in a community helps keep it stable despite upheaval. We hope to be similar pillars wherever we end up.

Comment by maia on Covid 10/8: October Surprise · 2020-10-09T14:22:29.712Z · LW · GW

Eh, I disagree. Just to give one datapoint in the opposite direction.

Comment by maia on [deleted post] 2020-10-07T16:16:01.832Z

You could try messaging the St. Louis organizers. I think meetups tend to vary a fair bit from city to city.

The meetups we've run in SF and DC in the past were mostly low-key, with some group activities like "help other people with their life problems," sharing and discussing interesting articles, and board games. (There's a pretty exhaustive list of our formats here:

Other organizers sometimes have higher production value, bringing in outside speakers, or focusing more on rationality content (e.g. "let's go through a recent CFAR handbook one activity at a time"). Or they might be even more low-key, just hosting social meetups with no topic at a cafe. It really depends.

Comment by maia on Covid 10/1: The Long Haul · 2020-10-02T16:09:35.426Z · LW · GW

This is true, but also, we're not giving people money to keep them afloat while their job is illegal anymore. So having the lockdown might not help that much.

Arguably we should start giving people money again, then lift the lockdowns, to give them the ability to choose.

This is, of course, complicated by the fact that if your old job offers you back your job in-person, you'd presumably be ineligible for unemployment... so we'd have to give people money unconditionally for this to work.

Comment by maia on WordPress Destroys Editing Process, Seeking Alternatives · 2020-08-18T17:33:12.294Z · LW · GW

I'm a fan of Blogger. From a quick Google search, it looks like there are some tools to transfer to it from Wordpress.

I mostly like it because it lets you have complete control over the HTML of your website directly, which is important to me personally.

Comment by maia on What are objects that have made your life better? · 2020-06-02T21:08:29.672Z · LW · GW

Huh, interesting. I have the same problem -- pain from wearing headphones -- but I solve it by using earbuds instead.

Comment by maia on What will the economic effects of COVID-19 be? · 2020-03-29T17:33:07.992Z · LW · GW
27. That's the number of days that nearly half of all the small businesses in the United States can go without making any revenue.

Source: NPR

Comment by maia on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-16T15:52:11.029Z · LW · GW

Complete speculation here: Our economy in 1918 was based much more on agriculture and industry, whereas now it is much more based on services, aka people going to work, which they now can't do, and also much larger. So perhaps the coronavirus will, in fact, destroy more real value than the Spanish flu was able to, even as a percentage of the market.

Comment by maia on 2020's Prediction Thread · 2020-01-04T06:08:11.176Z · LW · GW

"Any road that Google Maps has access to" is a high bar when you consider that that includes the roads in many countries with wildly different driver and pedestrian dynamics than the United States.

Comment by maia on 2020's Prediction Thread · 2019-12-31T08:33:25.854Z · LW · GW
At least one company sells fully autonomous cars, defined as cars that can autonomously perform nearly all tasks that normal drivers accomplish. 80%

There are some unspecified parameters here. Do you mean autonomous cars that are ...

  • region-locked, or able to drive anywhere?
  • able to drive in all weather conditions, or limited to only some?
Comment by maia on Propagating Facts into Aesthetics · 2019-12-30T03:29:59.330Z · LW · GW
do you think startup cofounders tend to team up because they’ve helped each other take out the trash?


To expand on this a little bit: I do think that sharing a vision and purpose and stuff is important, but that doing little things together and for each other can also make or break a long-term relationship. This applies to both marriages and founding startups. If your co-founder helps you take out the trash, you'll be a little less pissed off at them for whatever important stuff you're disagreeing about this week, which in turn will help resolve those disagreements more smoothly.

Comment by maia on Meetup Cookbook · 2018-07-19T06:37:22.970Z · LW · GW

Oh yeah, I forgot to suggest doing rounds of names during the introductory period of the meetup. That's helpful too. (A benefit of being the organizer is it's much easier to remember everyone's name, because if you have a bunch of regulars, you only have to remember one or two new names each week.)

I'm skeptical of making an FAQ for new people, unless it's genuinely made up of questions that you, personally, have received in this circumstance. Seems likely to come off as condescending.

My strategy with people who seem like they come from very far outside the LW subculture is to try to meet them where they are... ask questions like "what did you find interesting about rationality / why did you come here?" and try to meet them in the middle, or have a productive conversation if you have obvious disagreements. Focus on areas where you have commonalities, rather than telling them everything they are wrong about right off the bat.

But I don't get too much practice with this, since most of our new people find the meetups through the LW website.