The Rationalist Haggadot Collection 2024-04-02T20:02:20.785Z
The Aspiring Rationalist Congregation 2024-01-10T22:52:54.298Z
DC Secular Solstice 2023-11-06T03:40:18.721Z
PSA: The community is in Berkeley/Oakland, not "the Bay Area" 2023-09-11T15:59:47.132Z
Group Debugging meetup 2023-05-01T18:55:41.055Z
Quaker Practice for the Aspiring Rationalist 2023-04-01T19:32:03.051Z
How I Run Solstice, Step by Step 2023-03-16T03:23:47.254Z
Quaker Practice for the Aspiring Rationalist 2023-03-07T18:46:00.560Z
My Experience With Loving Kindness Meditation 2023-02-28T18:18:24.174Z
Year in Review + Accountability Groups Meetup 2023-01-05T02:16:58.986Z
"Starry Night" Solstice Cookies 2022-12-17T05:31:47.315Z
DC Secular Solstice 2022-11-06T18:21:22.359Z
Calibration Games workshop 2022-11-04T02:01:29.463Z
Goal Factoring Workshop 2022-10-09T16:22:49.988Z
Internal Double Crux workshop 2022-09-04T22:33:40.422Z
Double Crux meetup 2022-08-09T03:20:29.337Z
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


Comment by maia on Would you have a baby in 2024? · 2023-12-27T16:04:38.750Z · LW · GW

Empirically my answer to this is yes: I'm due in January with my second.

When I had my first child, I was thinking in terms of longer timelines. I assumed before having them that it would not be worth having a child if the world ended within a few years of their birth, because I would be less happy and their utility wouldn't really be much until later.

One month after my first baby was born, I had a sudden and very deep feeling that if the world ended tomorrow, it would have been worth it.

YMMV of course, but having kids can be a very deep human experience that pays off much sooner than you might think.

Comment by maia on DC Secular Solstice · 2023-11-27T19:31:18.113Z · LW · GW


Solstice is less than one week away! Here are a few updates that I promised.

Parking: When you arrive, follow signs for “Quaker Meeting” or “Country Day School.” Parking is permitted in gravel lot in the back of the meetinghouse, along the driveway on its left side, and along the side of Dogue Lane, the street on the right of the Meeting House. The Country Day School has allowed us to use their parking lot for the event, so you can also park in the paved lot to the left as you come in.

Childcare: I haven’t heard from anyone about this, and I was the only one using the paid childcare last year, so we’ve decided not to hire the babysitter this year. But if you plan to bring kids, I’d still love to hear from you so we can coordinate (my toddler will be in the audience with a friend).

Songs: We have a song list for the year! If you want to familiarize yourself with what we’ll be singing ahead of time so you can sing along, check it out here:

Let me or Rivka know if you have any questions or concerns.

Comment by maia on Solstice 2023 Roundup · 2023-11-06T03:41:17.408Z · LW · GW


December 2nd

FB event:
LW event:

Comment by maia on I'm consistently overwhelmed by basic obligations. Are there any paradigm shifts or other rationality-based tips that would be helpful? · 2023-07-24T02:26:51.094Z · LW · GW

I got a lot of value out of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind:

The high level takeaway is that these tasks become much more manageable when you establish a consistent set of habits and routines around them. There's a lot of very specific step by step advice for creating those habits. It's still the same amount of work, but feels less overwhelming once you have a grasp on how much work it actually is and experience with each task.

Comment by maia on The Base Rate Times, news through prediction markets · 2023-06-06T21:42:07.758Z · LW · GW

I don't see a way to click into individual charts to be able to zoom / see them in more detail. They're a bit crammed on the main page, which is fine for a summary but not great as the only way to view them.

In general it's a bit weird to have a news website with no way to click into a headline and see more information. Maybe that's OK for now, but it is surprising as a user. Perhaps you could link to or quote comments from the prediction market websites, or recent related news articles?

Are you using the same fonts as NYT? Probably better to use different ones to distinguish your site.

You've got various little weirdness with your borders and formatting. E.g.: the gray vertical lines between columns start at different points near the top. The spacing between the icons next to "Follow" and "Newsletter" is too close.

This is a very cool project, hope it continues!

Comment by maia on Change my mind: Veganism entails trade-offs, and health is one of the axes · 2023-06-03T03:21:38.756Z · LW · GW

I feel more EAs (or anyone who wants to eat ethically) should consider ameliatarianism if they find that veganism is too difficult, nutritionally or otherwise. It removes the vast majority of animal suffering from your diet, with very few nutritional concerns.

I'm also curious what you think about lacto-vegetarianism. It's a step between vegan and ameliatarian suffering-wise, but I'm not sure where it falls between the two in terms of nutritional difficulty. There's the example of the large and ancient lacto-vegetarian culture in India, but if you don't eat the specific foods of that culture, how hard is it to stay nutritionally balanced as a lacto-vegetarian?

Comment by maia on Lessons learned from offering in-office nutritional testing · 2023-05-16T13:23:02.823Z · LW · GW

You say you didn't care about age and sex, but I'm curious about the distribution in your participants. Menstruation is very relevant to iron deficiencies.

Comment by maia on Quaker Practice for the Aspiring Rationalist · 2023-04-20T21:39:56.445Z · LW · GW

Although I enjoy the practice of Meeting, I actually really disagree with you about Quaker practices around decisionmaking. My local Meeting had some huge disagreements around COVID that weren't resolved at all well; from that and how disagreements are handled in general, it almost seems to me to be more of a Tyranny of Structurelessness[1] kind of situation, where conflict is handled via backchanneling and silently routing around disagreements and leaning on people who disagree to let it go.

Frankly I just don't think consensus is a good decisionmaking method at all.


Comment by maia on Pausing AI Developments Isn't Enough. We Need to Shut it All Down · 2023-04-08T13:04:32.089Z · LW · GW

Thank you for writing these up! I think they are good guidelines for making discussion more productive.

Are these / are you planning to put these in a top level post as well?

Comment by maia on What could EA's new name be? · 2023-04-03T03:02:03.613Z · LW · GW

EA is currently still the final frontier for every vegan everywhere, for example, including those in professional networks such as government policy. 

EA is the ultimate destination for virtually all vegans in the world right now

I'm not that familiar with the vegan/animal rights community. What do you mean by this, can you elaborate? I thought animal rights was a large movement in its own right, separate from EA?

Comment by maia on Shutting Down the Lightcone Offices · 2023-03-16T00:07:52.075Z · LW · GW

That all makes sense. It does feel like this is worth a larger conversation now that people are thinking about it, and I don't think you guys are the only ones.

I'm reminded of this Sam Altman tweet:

Comment by maia on Shutting Down the Lightcone Offices · 2023-03-15T23:32:35.107Z · LW · GW

"The EA and rationality communities might be incredibly net negative" is a hell of a take to be buried in a post about closing offices.


Comment by maia on 2022 Survey Results · 2023-03-09T04:39:11.670Z · LW · GW

Quick warning about The Steerswoman: It's a wonderful series that is incomplete, with a pretty big cliffhanger at the end of the last book. That book came out in 2004, and the last mention I can find on Rosemary Kirstein's blog is in 2021, saying that she was "taking a breather" on the next one.

Comment by maia on AI: Practical Advice for the Worried · 2023-03-02T01:56:25.864Z · LW · GW

Therapy is already technically possible to automate with ChatGPT. The issue is that people strongly prefer to get it from a real human, even when an AI would in some sense do a "better" job.

EDIT: A recent experiment demonstrating this:

Comment by maia on AI: Practical Advice for the Worried · 2023-03-01T21:07:32.964Z · LW · GW

It's hard to predict what careers will make sense in an AI-inflected world where we're not all dead. Still, I have the feeling that certain careers are better bets than others: basically Baumol-effect jobs where it is essential (or strongly preferred) that the person performing the task is actually a human being. So: therapist, tutor, childcare, that sort of thing.

Comment by maia on Enemies vs Malefactors · 2023-03-01T12:45:26.572Z · LW · GW

There's no contradiction. There are two competing sides of the evolutionary process: one side is racing to understand intentions as well as possible, the other side is racing to obscure its intentions, in this case by not having them consciously.

Comment by maia on My Experience With Loving Kindness Meditation · 2023-02-28T20:28:15.247Z · LW · GW

This is a recent story of this type:

MCTB also has some more descriptions of bad meditation experiences.

Comment by maia on [Link] A community alert about Ziz · 2023-02-27T18:47:26.465Z · LW · GW

I don't think "taking ideas too seriously" is what went wrong here. Their actions are just too insane and frankly random and nonsensical to fit that model.

Comment by maia on Year in Review + Accountability Groups Meetup · 2023-02-06T04:08:05.140Z · LW · GW

We're doing a followup weekly accountability video call on Sundays at 6pm for just 15 minutes. (I've scheduled it to be every week from now until mid-June.) You're welcome to join for the accountability call even if you weren't able to make it to the meetup today; just DM me your email so I can add you to the invite.

Comment by maia on My Model Of EA Burnout · 2023-02-01T15:57:44.924Z · LW · GW

Reading this post was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, because I read it and went "ohhh, that's the thing other people are talking about happening to them when they talk about what an easy trap it is to fall into scrupulosity and stuff." This might also explain why I don't feel that much at home with the EA community even though I'm on board with basically all the main propositions and have donated a bunch.

My brain just doesn't do the "get hijacked by other people's values" thing anymore. I think it got burned too much by me doing that in my late teens / early twenties and getting super depressed as a result, so now anytime I see a project that part of me wants to get excited about and subsumed by, my brain goes "Nope. Nah. Not messing with that." To the point where it's kind of hard for me to contemplate ambitious projects at all, because the part of me that refuses to be ruled will not submit to it.

Comment by maia on 2022 Unofficial LessWrong General Census · 2023-01-31T03:59:42.368Z · LW · GW

Seems worth mentioning that Screwtape is now the ACX/Rationality global meetups coordinator, which I feel gives him a certain degree of moral authority to run this (not to mention the other stuff he mentions about how the LW team was aware of his plans).

Comment by maia on Year in Review + Accountability Groups Meetup · 2023-01-18T01:17:06.366Z · LW · GW

Please note that this has been POSTPONED two weeks to Feb 5th (I have COVID and don't want to give it to all of you).

Comment by maia on DC Secular Solstice · 2022-12-18T04:19:58.765Z · LW · GW

Feedback form for those who attended:

Comment by maia on DC Secular Solstice · 2022-12-10T22:43:15.784Z · LW · GW

Hey folks! Solstice is a singalong event; singing is actively encouraged. However, some of you may be new or just not familiar with the songs we sing. So I've put together this list of songs so you can check them out beforehand if you'd like:

If you only listen to one of these, make it Brighter than Today.

Comment by maia on Meme Dialects · 2022-11-24T03:53:00.557Z · LW · GW

Having spent a good amount of time on Google Memegen myself, I think what you describe would actually be a misuse of the "guy drinking beer" meme. It's supposed to be something about laziness (so an EA-flavored related meme here would be something like: "earning to give does more harm than good? better do nothing!"). It's based on the original burned-out-college-student/lazy-college-senior meme, where the punchline is supposed to be that you're happy you don't have to do some task.

Comment by maia on Calibration Trivia · 2022-11-21T00:05:07.091Z · LW · GW

There's actually a big problem with using Brier scores for open-ended questions like this, which is that the optimal option if you're, say, 50% confident you have the right answer, is to instead report "Don't know / bleeblabloo, probability 0.0001". Then you get a good Brier score for knowing you would be wrong.

We ran this at our meetup today and it was the subject of much discussion. A big conclusion seemed to be that Brier scores work best when there is a fixed, limited number of possibilities to guess from; when the number of possibilities is large/unknown and you can guess "I don't know," you get this bad behavior.

We came up with a kind of hacky solution that gave you negative points for wrong answers and positive points for right ones, scaled to the probability you gave, plus regular Brier scores for the True/False questions. It's unlikely that solution was a proper scoring rule, but it was somewhat better in removing the incentive to always guess "[wrong answer] with probability epsilon."

Comment by maia on Solstice 2022 Roundup · 2022-11-12T22:52:05.797Z · LW · GW


More info:

Comment by maia on Consider your appetite for disagreements · 2022-10-10T04:07:16.955Z · LW · GW

I skipped through 90% of the text of this example without it detracting much from the main point of the post. I think it would be better with much less text and with translation of the jargon used.

Comment by maia on Twitter Polls: Evidence is Evidence · 2022-09-21T16:19:57.970Z · LW · GW

It's worth noting that Twitter polls are easily corrupted/manipulated by someone trying deliberately to do so. But no one is likely do that unless they know you take the results seriously. It's anti-inductive: the more you use them, the less useful they get.

Comment by maia on Gene drives: why the wait? · 2022-09-21T15:50:02.120Z · LW · GW

Even if it benefited people in the short term, releasing a gene drive without consulting the local government would likely lead to a huge backlash

But has anyone asked a local government?

Comment by maia on The ethics of reclining airplane seats · 2022-09-05T04:14:48.591Z · LW · GW

There's a wonderful Econtalk segment on this issue:

The authors wrote a book on property rights in everyday life, and how they differ from legal property rights. The example of airline seats is a case where, if you survey people, they give basically 50/50 answers about who "owns" the airspace in front of an airline seat, and therefore whether reclining the seat is appropriate.

Their belief is that it is actually in the airline's interests for this to be ambiguous. This is because when paying for an airline seat, people naturally assume that they will have the right to both recline and the right to not have the person in front of them recline. The airline doesn't want to mediate this conflict, because they want to continue to sell seats to people who optimistically believe they will have access to both. So the airline has no desire to give a clear pronouncement either way, because that will lower the perceived value of a seat.

Comment by maia on TEAM: a dramatically improved form of therapy · 2022-08-29T03:30:19.491Z · LW · GW

Hey, one year later, just wanted to say thanks for writing this post. I found the Feeling Good podcast really interesting and I've also bought and read Feeling Great, and I find myself often going back to the ideas in the book and podcast to help me with different situations. I think going through the exercises in the book helped me out a lot with medical anxiety. So, thank you for the recommendation!

Comment by maia on Double Crux In A Box · 2022-08-29T01:36:09.826Z · LW · GW

I wrote some more potentially-disagreeable statements for the DC meetup today. Here are the ones that were actually controversial:

  • If I had the option to have my brain uploaded with perfect accuracy into a simulated life better than my current life, but only if it destroyed my physical brain and body in the process, I would take it.
  • Having more children today improves the world overall.

A good way to find good statements for this is asking random attendees: "What view do you have that you think lots of people here might disagree with?"

Couple more examples that came up from that:

  • Believing in the supernatural gives you benefits that you can't achieve without such beliefs.
  • If I had the option to use a Star Trek teleporter (which breaks down your body atom-by-atom and reassembles it somewhere else), I would/would not.
  • Morality exists independent of people in the world.
Comment by maia on Double Crux In A Box · 2022-08-29T01:19:12.471Z · LW · GW

I rewrote the pair sorting code to pull from the output of a Google form, so you can just copy-paste and click a button to get the output. Should be easier to use than the Jupyter notebook version, and maybe easier/more robust than doing it finger-wise.

Comment by maia on On Car Seats as Contraception · 2022-08-23T13:07:24.579Z · LW · GW

I have strong memories of not wanting to wear seatbelts as a child because the strap was uncomfortable on my neck; I would often put the shoulder belt behind me to avoid it, which is obviously pretty unsafe. I had one babysitter who used a device that attached to the seatbelt mount and changed the angle of the belt to go over my shoulder instead, which was literally just a triangle of fabric. Something like these: Costs $10, small, easy to move. I suspect these don't count for legal purposes, though.

Comment by maia on AI art isn't "about to shake things up". It's already here. · 2022-08-22T14:01:09.244Z · LW · GW

Midjourney seems to be better at stylistic consistency. E.g. see the images on the post, which are pretty stylistically consistent:

Comment by maia on Covid 8/18/22: CDC Admits Mistakes · 2022-08-18T17:18:46.900Z · LW · GW

How to solve a Rubik’s Cube via learning 3,915 algorithms for the final layer. I notice I am more confused that this didn’t happen earlier than I am impressed or surprised that it happened now. I mean of course that’s the way to do it, right?

Not sure how serious this is, but to give a little more context, the standard methods involve memorizing 57 algorithms for OLL ("orientation" of the last layer-- getting all the yellow bits on the top face) and 21 algorithms for PLL (permutation of the last layer-- fixing the sides of all the top cubies). Breaking it down into two steps reduces the amount of memorization quite a bit-- and also makes recognition of the cube state for what algorithm to use much faster. The guy said on reddit that doing this memorization didn't help his times: his average is around 15 seconds, which is nowhere near record-breaking these days. The world record average-of-three is sub-5 and a friend of mine's average is around 11, for context. I would guess that recognition takes him substantially longer than most champion speedcubers, and that's not helping. So that's probably why this guy is the first to do it. Not much incentive to other than to be able to say you did!

Comment by maia on Meditation course claims 65% enlightenment rate: my review · 2022-08-02T01:59:01.666Z · LW · GW

What I took away from this comment was: Mainstream meditation teachers are not happy with Martin because he has redefined "awakening" to mean a thing that is good and people want (being happier), rather than a thing that is strange and possibly bad that people don't want, and is teaching people the good and wanted thing instead of the weird mysterious thing.

Comment by maia on CFAR Handbook: Introduction · 2022-07-26T15:03:51.309Z · LW · GW

Couple questions about this sequence.

Is there any plan to write down and post more of the surrounding content like activities/lectures/etc.?

How does CFAR feel about "off-brand"/"knockoff" versions of these workshops being run at meetups? If OK with it, how should those be announced/disclaimed to make it clear that they're not affiliated with CFAR?

I'm interested in this as an organizer, and based on conversations at the meetup organizers' retreat this weekend, I think a number of other organizers would be interested as well.

Comment by maia on Upcoming heatwave: advice · 2022-07-15T19:32:34.582Z · LW · GW

For some non-AC options if you don't manage to get one in time: Those little spray fans that also mist you with water are remarkably effective. They usually are battery-powered, so still useful in a power outage.

Also, drinking cold smoothies is surprisingly cooling -- probably any consumption of ice-cold water/stuff will get you a similar effect. I drank many of them to get through heat waves in San Francisco.

Comment by maia on Why Portland · 2022-07-10T12:45:05.865Z · LW · GW

In the DC area there are much fewer places without A/C, since it's pretty critical to human functioning here. I always found it weird how many rental places didn't offer A/C in the South Bay, given that it was clearly necessary some of the year. People in California are too used to temperate weather or something.

Comment by maia on Toni Kurz and the Insanity of Climbing Mountains · 2022-07-06T01:07:52.630Z · LW · GW

An uncle of mine was a professional mountain climber for years. I vividly remember him telling me a story about when he and his best friend started to slide down an icy mountain and had to pull their ice picks out to drag along behind them. I was waiting to find out how they got out of it, when he said "And that's when my buddy died." It was real life, not just a story.

He mentioned with some regret that he'd never climbed Everest, "but at least I'm alive and still have all my toes."

Comment by maia on What Diet Books Don't Teach: A book review and a request for more reading · 2022-06-28T20:37:20.349Z · LW · GW

Oh, and a trick re: your problem of rotten food. Take the food, put it in gallon Ziplocks in the freezer until trash day, and then throw it out. I don't bother with this myself, but I know someone who does this with raw-meat-based trash because they also have problems with animals in their garbage.

Comment by maia on What Diet Books Don't Teach: A book review and a request for more reading · 2022-06-28T13:29:31.509Z · LW · GW

Re: basic cooking skills and stocking a kitchen: Some cookbooks actually do help with this! One of the best resources for a very beginning cook is The Joy of Cooking, which contains pages of detailed illustrations about how to do very basic kitchen tasks. It also has substantial sections on how to select high-quality produce and meats, and various other forms of kitchen-related advice you're looking for. I'd definitely recommend checking it out. (Full disclosure, I haven't used it much in years because I'm a more advanced cook at this point, but I did look at it a fair bit when I got it as a gift upon graduating high school.)

How can I listen to my body to know intuitively which foods are making me healthier, or sicker, or when it is better to fast?

My belief is that most people who claim to be able to do this in full generality are lying. Our bodies evolved in an environment that is totally different from the current one, and processed foods are optimized for tricking them into believing that the food you're eating is good. The biggest thing you can learn to do more "intuitively" is pay attention to whether you are hungry or not. To some extent, though, this is also manipulated by processed foods, which are designed to trick your sense of hunger-- see e.g. for more documentation/evidence on this (I'd also recommend his book The Hungry Brain for a general model of how this works, though not much specific advice). The reason "processed foods" are worse for you is generally because of this process of technical optimization for anti-your-goals, performed by many expert food scientists to try to get you to pay more for food. A rule of thumb that flows out of this is that non-processed foods are better for you because they are poorly optimized.

Am I getting enough salt and electrolytes?

This one you can answer via checking yourself regularly for dehydration symptoms, which include: dizziness, lightheadedness, blacking out when you stand up, headaches, or feeling thirsty. You're more likely to have problems with this if you have low blood pressure in general. If you notice these symptoms, you probably need to drink more water as well as consume more electrolytes. Most people don't drink as much as water as they should, so by default that's more likely to be a problem than not getting enough electrolytes.

How can I have a positive attitude towards healthy choices, and avoid frustration?

I like the attitude promoted by Reinhard on his websites, including His general attitude is that the most important thing for diet/exercise/lifestyle change in general is to make things as sustainable as possible. Focus on making better habits that work with your life, rather than an optimal diet that you'll never stick to.

Hope this is helpful! I think Reinhard + Joy of Cooking gets a lot of what you're looking for.

Comment by maia on Is there a worked example of Georgian taxes? · 2022-06-16T18:13:54.647Z · LW · GW

Here's one example: my house! Our purchase price was around $460k. You can estimate the value of unimproved land by subtracting the value the house is insured for from the actual price. It's insured for $360k, so our land value would be estimated at $100k. (I'm sure there are better ways to estimate this-- and I imagine if taxes depended on it, people might try to change their insurance amounts to game the system-- but it works for now.) 

From a quick look at Craigslist, it seems we could rent the place out for maybe $2,500 per month. Multiply that by $100k/$460k and you get that around $540 of the rent is coming from land value, which comes out to a yearly property tax of $6500 or about 6.5% of land value.

Landlords sometimes use a rule of thumb that a property is a good investment if you can charge at least 6% of the purchase price in rent per year. This is pretty similar to the 6.5% I got. In general, it seems that a roughly 5-6.5% tax on the unimproved land value gets you around 100% of the land rents.

($6500 is about 3x our current property taxes, which I think correctly reflects the fact that our house is in a pretty desirable location and the house itself isn't that amazing. Actually, the current Redfin estimate on our house is at $540k, so it would be even higher than that.)

Comment by maia on Help! What do I say at my wedding? · 2022-06-06T16:54:06.345Z · LW · GW

Cool :-) In case it's useful, let me share with you the vows we used:

"In the presence of these our family and friends, I take you to be my beloved, promising to be a loving and faithful partner. I vow to cherish your spirit and individuality, to face life's challenges with patience and humor, to respect our differences, and to nurture our growth. I will share the world with you and delight in seeing it through your eyes. Together, we will build greater things than either of us could alone."

The first two sentences were taken from various Quaker wedding certificates I found online, and the second two we wrote ourselves. We wanted them to be true to ourselves and our relationship, but also feel timeless, not tied to specific things about ourselves or our hobbies like some vows you hear these days.

Comment by maia on Help! What do I say at my wedding? · 2022-06-01T11:55:19.222Z · LW · GW

Maybe not what you're looking for, but I greatly enjoyed having a Quaker unprogrammed wedding. The format is that everyone sits in the same room for roughly an hour, and when someone (including any of the guests) feels moved to speak about the couple or marriage in general, they stand up and speak. It's very warm and meaningful, and conveniently doesn't require you to provide any content except for your vows at the end :-)

Typically these weddings would not have an officiant, but if you need one for legal reasons or because you've already asked somebody, you can have them step in when you do the vows.

Comment by maia on Eliezer's latest story, past 1M words · 2022-05-11T16:43:19.338Z · LW · GW

Comment by maia on What We Owe the Past · 2022-05-07T16:10:13.921Z · LW · GW

I wasn't expecting to based on the title, but I like this. I think it's important to be able to hold commitments in mind for your future self. But it's also important, when trying to hold your future self to something, to be conservative about what you commit to so you don't screw up your ability to make these commitments in the future.

I can think of several times when I explicitly tried to ... do something like acausal trade ... with my future self.

  1. When I was about 9 years old, I had a very complex set of relationships with other kids, including some kind of "war" and an on/off relationship with a specific boy. I remember thinking to myself, "Usually, when people are adults, they think this kind of thing that kids do is stupid. But future me, you'd better not do that. Think of this as important. This is really important to me."
  2. When I was deciding which college to go to, I attended a weekend at one of the places I was accepted that they held to attract students. I really enjoyed it, but the college was extremely expensive. I thought, "Hey, future self... I don't want to hold you to this, but listen, this is REALLY nice. I know it's expensive, but seriously try to work out if there is any way you can go here, for real."
  3. When I was giving birth (recently), I thought, "You know, I've been planning to do this again, but holy shit, it sucks. Future self, seriously consider whether this is actually worth it."

I'm shaping up to ~violate the commitment in all 3 cases, but I think there are good reasons that past-me would accept if they knew.

1: I don't find it that important in retrospect, but it's not because I was "only a child" at the time; it's because basically all things in life recede in importance when they happened to you a long time ago and you don't interact with the relevant people anymore. I plan to try to honor this commitment by having more respect for the experiences of children in general.

2: I didn't attend the expensive college. I did try quite hard to figure out if it was feasible, but unfortunately I was lacking in good information about money at that time in my life. My best guess was that it would have been pretty crappy graduating with that much debt, and I now think that was basically true. Ultimately, though, my life would have been so different that it's hard to say what the right decision was.

3: Haven't had the opportunity yet, but I do plan to have another child, even keeping in mind the agony of childbirth (note that I did have medical pain relief, but they don't tell you how bad it can be even with that). My past self wasn't aware of how great having a newborn child was, and I like to think would agree that this is the right choice all told. (Also, later births are on average easier, so that helps too.)

Comment by maia on Salvage Epistemology · 2022-05-01T19:36:50.892Z · LW · GW

That one's also a little hard to pronounce, so I think we'd have to collapse it to "assrat".