How do you whittle path-dependent (probabilistic) questions? 2020-05-02T08:53:41.566Z · score: 5 (2 votes)
Mary Chernyshenko's Shortform 2020-01-18T14:57:39.038Z · score: 3 (1 votes)
[Event] Meeting in Myrhorod, November 16 2019-10-06T08:45:59.527Z · score: 3 (1 votes)
Lyubarsky intro 2019-03-09T11:13:31.075Z · score: 6 (4 votes)
Have a camel! 2019-02-28T19:25:05.476Z · score: 12 (7 votes)
Describing things: parsimony, fruitfulness, and adaptability 2019-02-05T20:59:01.345Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
What observations do you as a customer would expect to matter, if your experience was 1000 times "stronger"? 2019-01-01T22:03:39.480Z · score: 4 (2 votes)


Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Most People Aren't Fishermen · 2020-09-26T05:58:57.142Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Suppose the UBI is implemented, most people don't become entrepreneurs, and more people get married (although if all UBI amounts to is more/better Christmas presents and the like, I don't think many people will bother). Doesn't that mean that the exact hoped-for consequences do occur? If most people aren't fishermen, why not let them build their lives?

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Up close and personal with the world · 2020-09-25T19:10:51.634Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Seems like this is easier when you deal with "ordinary" amounts of stuff, not too little and not too big. I don't mean "mind-bogglingly, philosophical big". The trouble is already in the 10^-5-ies. And I'm saying this because I take good apochromatic optics for granted, so can't be too opposed to more pessimistic estimates.

I was so frustrated when I had to read up on phytohormones in non-flowering plants (and on the flowering, since they are better studied). It's a crazy vinaigrette of units used to express what is usually quite low concentrations, with a few exceptions like pollen. How can one compare ng/g dry material to, say, mg/g wet material, when it is clear that these aren't just two convertible figures but two different ways of measurement? (With who knows how many plants used to squeeze it out in either case.)

BTW, ChristianKI adviced me to read Husserl, but I haven't yet (although what little I have read seems interesting and relevant).

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Should it be a research paper or a blog post? · 2020-09-25T15:42:56.825Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A paper.

People reading your blog and providing advice would probably want to keep reading it and style their commentary to accommodate that desire. People referring to your paper in some way / including it into their own introduction or discussion sections are probably going to be far less involved with you the author.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Visualizing the textbook for fun and profit · 2020-09-25T08:09:27.148Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This thing is even more fun when you have a "chemical machine" to make sense of :)

Once upon a time, when we were cramming for a plant physiology test, we looked at The Photosynthesis in all its monstrous glory, and it looked back at us.

And while the cycle of reactions which gainfully employ the carbons is relatively simple - more of knowing where you start and which atoms can be lawfully screwed off the molecules - the Dark Side proved to be more elusive. Had to imagine a system of catapults throwing The Electrons across a desert, operated by jinns fed by snacks falling from the sky (the snacks were signed in code, and the deceptively bigger numbers meant lesser energies)... Our teacher couldn't understand why we were grinning so hard at the questions...

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on In 1 year and 5 years what do you see as "the normal" world. · 2020-09-14T20:17:52.435Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(Actually, this question is too awkward to be answered without thinking about politics, since it's apparent some things will be thrown under the bus. And I don't mean that we need any outward enemy for this to happen, even though it helps, but just that throwing them under the bus has always been the cheaper option. And now at last we can...)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What happens if you drink acetone? · 2020-09-14T20:07:09.394Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You get to play the Probably Somatic Mutation Roulette?..

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on In 1 year and 5 years what do you see as "the normal" world. · 2020-09-14T15:02:43.891Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(All in all, I think we should begin with imagining how the incentives are going to change, and then what the people are therefore going to adapt to.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on ‘Ugh fields’, or why you can’t even bear to think about that task (Rob Wiblin) · 2020-09-13T15:58:20.438Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This should be much more common if you have to manage volunteers than paid workers, probably.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on In 1 year and 5 years what do you see as "the normal" world. · 2020-09-13T15:33:13.883Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think buying things online is becoming more widespread and will be much more common than before covid. This should have some effect on how commerce is organized, with the less online-savvy businesses losing some ground. Maybe we shall get used to paying more for the delivery than we did before, but it will work both ways; I can imagine publishers having to cut prices and whole branches of the book printing industry drying out.

Then there's a question of professional unions, for example teachers' unions. I have no idea what they will do, but they will be desperate. Might result in new legislature.

(I don't know how well it corresponds to what is happening in the States, though, or even in Europe.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Comparative advantage and when to blow up your island · 2020-09-13T13:15:03.592Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How interesting! And what happens when you introduce naturally fluctuating harvests? It seems that the dweller of the unlucky island has to re-negotiate to progressively worse conditions?

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Why haven't we celebrated any major achievements lately? · 2020-09-10T08:01:59.708Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Although on the other hand, we aren't grown-up enough. "Whales seem to be going extinct no matter what has been done about it" is an achievement of science, yet I haven't heard of anyone celebrating that.

I mean, the very expected misuse of antibiotics is producing superbugs. And knowing that superbugs are being produced is very, very valuable for us in the future. But people somehow aren't breaking into song.

So it seems to me that the examples of exuberance in the OP had to do with celebrating "the goodness of man" as much as "the power of science", and the former is a different problem today.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Why haven't we celebrated any major achievements lately? · 2020-09-10T07:45:22.832Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not sure this explains anything, just a thought. We're too grown-up.

We know the world is big, and improving things takes time, and no single action does much to shift the balance. So we keep waiting.

And it doesn't help that there are problems today that we already know will not be solved completely and utterly by any specific date. E. g. whale extinction; it's not that the thing literally cannot be "solved" at some point in the future, it's more of a "we keep running into our own limitations of both the knowledge and the international cooperation required to do it, and we have become used to the delays". At least a bridge is a bridge, you can count on it being built sooner or later.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary · 2020-08-29T07:03:48.603Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Don't know if I should advise it, but covid has nudged me into finally buying two overalls (one for the summer and one for cooler weather). Very convenient, I just come inside, take it off and place it under the clothes rack in almost a single motion. And it doesn't have all these additional surfaces that a combination of a coat and trousers or skirt has, which I used to touch without paying attention.

Then it's just a step into the shower and I'm free to come into the living space. I would buy a thicker one for even colder weather, but currently my priorities are a bit different.

The drawback of the light one is it doesn't have sleeves; but it cost ridiculous money and I just throw on a light shirt, and it's very easy to hand-wash. The drawback of the heavy one (jeans) is the fact that it makes me look like some kind of technician on a mission :) so I just think of it as my spacesuit. Maybe people who keep track of fashion will have better luck. It was also significantly more expensive, so I bought it for my birthday.

Buying overalls via internet is a bit tricky, since you have to estimate how your trunk's length fits in it (not that it's hard, you just have to remember not to rely only on your height), but the seller can be a great help.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open & Welcome Thread - August 2020 · 2020-08-28T21:58:32.525Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've been thinking about "good people" lately and realized I've met three. They do exist.

They were not just kind, wise, brave, funny, and fighting, but somehow simply "good" overall; rather different, but they all shared the ability of taking knives off and out of others' souls and then just not adding any new ones. Sheer magic.

One has probably died of old age already; one might have gone to war and died there, and the last one is falling asleep on the other side of the bed as I'm typing. But still - only three people I would describe exactly so.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Food Spending During Covid · 2020-08-21T19:22:32.891Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe it's comprised of small distinct adjustments.

These times, it takes me a conscious effort to go looking for more options to make our meals more variable (by June they had become simply boring). When I see several cheeses, it kind of drives home that there doesn't have to be Only One. Overall, buying different things online caused our food spendings to fluctuate, but now I expect them to even out.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open & Welcome Thread - August 2020 · 2020-08-21T18:33:33.674Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

(Saw a typo, had a random thought) The joke "English is important, but Math is importanter" could and perhaps should be told as "English is important, but Math iser important." It seems to me (at times more strongly), that there should be comparative and superlative forms of verbs, not just adjectives and adverbs. To express the thrust of *doing smth. more* / *happening more*, when no adjectival comparison quite suffices.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Rereading Atlas Shrugged · 2020-08-20T15:51:03.187Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(just a thought. Factor in the relatively small, yet "evolutionarily" interesting effect of the covid on the public education system, mainly the discontinuity between people who will get the boost of learning and people who won't. I don't know how it is in the States, but where I live, changes seem to accelerate and nobody pretends to know where it stops. I don't even mean money.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on More Right · 2020-08-01T09:13:46.785Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it doesn't really matter.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on More Right · 2020-07-31T07:06:57.544Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, English is not my native language. I meant that X feels like Y, feels as if Y is Z. I'll try to be more careful.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on More Right · 2020-07-29T07:00:00.568Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe some way exists, but that's not what I mean.

I like to think about the blade as being always in motion, since even when it's sheathed it's moving along to being drawn. PH is analogous to not ignoring it. It's just easier when you can see it coming.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on More Right · 2020-07-24T18:45:16.388Z · score: 1 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what to do to be humble or support it in others. I try to adhere to a number of haphazard rules, like "don't spread facebook posts that are supposed to be news but also asking the readers to express their feelings on the subject". Maybe it sums to something.

But being "positively" humble, actively trying to not just not-sidestep but go forward... feels weird. As if the truth is a blade to be looked at only as it descends for the kill and never before; at the moment when whatever you do, it won't matter.

(It happens in fiction, even in good fiction trying to improve people's thinking. Because it's just too satisfying.)

I can be relatively humble when I remember the blade, but it's neither a permanent solution nor particularly safe.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Atemporal Ethical Obligations · 2020-06-28T10:58:54.518Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wish I could agree, but... what counts more than what?

If intergenerational responsibility costs a lot, you should trade it against other expenses just as milk or space rockets. And the worst thing is that it almost never costs "you" anything separately from everybody else, and when people take that responsibility... it tends not to be universally viewed later as an example of moral action.

I have always wondered at how revolutions are justified afterwards on the grounds of economics but not on the grounds of shared responsibility. (Apologies if this offends anyone, I was looking for something sufficiently big. I don't mean that justifying revolutions this way works, just that people try to do it.) Makes one wonder if that people of tomorrow thing is ever taken consistently...

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Atemporal Ethical Obligations · 2020-06-27T07:11:07.507Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's not clear to me why I should be building for the people of tomorrow when the people of today go to war and die, literally, instead of building for themselves. I try to direct my spare and almost-spare money to causes I consider valuable; that some of them might be shown to have been harmful, hopeless or unnecessary, is a price of making any commitment at all. You can't have moral actions without commitment.

That I miss some new important things, that's a price of not following fashion. These two prices are in an equilibrium.

As to considering people good or bad, why are we doing this again?

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Our Need for Need · 2020-05-30T08:15:02.978Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Seems like an obvious way out is to invent more art? Art requires admirers, in the old meaning of the word, contemplators. But the world as a whole won't go that way.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What aspects of the world emotionally bothers you on an immediate personal level on a daily basis? · 2020-05-28T14:09:51.130Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

War... used to, but now that we have less of it in the news, it's not on daily basis anymore. They just batch the statistics for larger chunks of time.

These months it's rather the expected shifts in our education system which is planned to move online to some extent. Nobody knows what exactly it means, everybody expects everybody "to defect". E. g., low quality textbooks and especially the online framework (including lack of Internet connection in some places); overall lack of motivation; even lower standards of (self) grading... it gets to me because my kid will be in his third year, I will have to somehow teach him despite everything and work, too. The problem is not that this is a temporary solution to the corona-crisis, the problem is that it's going to stay afterwards.

I now think about it all like a Gift from the Gods. A charmed chalice, a ring of Power, you name it: something not "fatal" itself, but inexorably and ungovernably causing ripples in the world. Something everybody wants to use himself, and knows everybody does. Something that cannot be mislaid, in our legendary times.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Mary Chernyshenko's Shortform · 2020-05-28T05:58:52.442Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not any particular book, but rather some frequent conditions of game theory problems I have seen here and elsewhere (my fb friend keeps posting such pieces). "The players care only about winning" etc. Well, some people actually do.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on In Search of Slack · 2020-05-27T21:22:36.255Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(paternal mtDNA holds out hope: )

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Mary Chernyshenko's Shortform · 2020-05-26T19:26:40.246Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Some other people who play to win

It's a crowd I'd come into contact with as a manager of an online bookshop (and most of the reason I quitted). Usually, I can pretend they don't exist, but... we all know how it goes... and now that they don't make my blood boil every weekend, I can afford to speak about them.

"Some other people" will play to win - say, a facebook lottery with a book for a prize, and they will mean it. If they don't win, they will say the lottery was rigged. Public righteous indignation on every player's behalf is a weapon (and for the manager, a potent vaccine against righteously indignant polemics of many other kinds). Private appeals to the manager's pity; commenting the rules' exploitable/exploited loopholes - after the winner is announced; repeating actions which have already been answered elsewhere in the thread. I don't include 'filing a complaint' here, because it's frankly too straightforward for most of them, most of the time; the bookshop would likely send them a book with an eloquent blessing/apology, just to get them to shut up and earn good PR points for "owning up to mistakes". But in practice, it still matters too much to be the actual winner, and the brain of the trophy-gatherer works like other brains don't. At least not for a while.

I'm not unusually out-of-touch with customers; I was recommended for the job after two years in an offline shop. And this was... entirely different. I'd never encountered people with whole profiles dedicated to reposting online lotteries - living people I had to call on the phone. It is another world.

When I read about (simple) "pure" game theoretical problems, in which the players "care only about winning", I cannot reconcile the image of Worthy Rivals the author has in mind with the actual Really-Want-This-Whatever Whiners who seek out such contests. Get it, not the passively allowing themselves to be drawn into a strategic game kind of players, but the self-sorting to exploit as many offers as possible kind. They will be few, yes. Nobody of them might force their way through every single time.

But they will define the meaning of the rules you think you write.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open & Welcome Thread—May 2020 · 2020-05-17T08:40:14.030Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I recently gave up on trying to keep track of where things are in the kitchen, since my husband also cooks and puts everything where he likes, too. So I just taped the lists to the inside of the cabinets' doors. Surprisingly efficient, except for the time when we literally lost a pan in the next drawer. So after this worked, we now have a reminder on how to wash some things in the washing machine taped above the machine. And a reminder of our sizes taped in the wardrobe. I am thinking about labeling shelves in the kid's wardrobe, but this might be not enforceable anyway.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Why do you (not) use a pseudonym on LessWrong? · 2020-05-08T07:30:13.123Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I know a person who uses a self-taken name in real life. (Her given name is Anastasia, but she goes by Alice.) It doesn't have the advantages of online pseudos hiding someone's trail from unfavorable scrutiny, but it's important enough for her that she used to sign official papers with it and now has changed her documents accordingly. In her case, it's a matter of being her own self-invented person... and back when I used pseudo names online, it used to have the same aftertaste.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Coping and Cultures · 2020-05-07T21:08:53.194Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. How do you identify the culturally-induced or taught CM in people who have started working? (In contrast to personal CM erected through self-teaching which was gained simultaneously [with the CM obtained by peer cross-pollination and between-generation communication].)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Coping and Cultures · 2020-05-07T08:39:25.669Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And you should have mentioned talking in your sleep. My bookshop manager used to discuss complex orders with many items required by different parties, according to her husband.

Also, it is probably better to distinguish the "outer" adaptations like the cultivated image of the profession and the "personal" ones which include coping mechanisms. Our entomology instruction didn't include worms in the eyes (not so graphically, anyway), we rather had to adapt to the sheer diversity of the taxa.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Coping and Cultures · 2020-05-07T08:19:16.655Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Don't just look in the exciting directions :) There are adaptations to maintaining a constant level of attention.

Fledgling botanists (or people with natural predilections) are pretty mellow about walking distances and watching the roadsides again all night long on replay. It's not your feet that get tired first, it's your brain.

But fully grown botanists have the even pace through the habitat at maximum useful speed and the ability to observe all they need to, without fluctuations in attention. I knew a guy who seemed possessed, running through the wood throwing Latin left and right (we had to write it down after him).

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Stop saying wrong things · 2020-05-03T18:20:40.795Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, I am trying to not say wrong things, to track things I say for excitement or as a knee-jerk reaction, and to "hmm" in response to such things being said (by adults)... I don't see the grand mileage come out of it. For example, my kid just gets confused when he asks if I stay to live with his family and I say he's going to have a wife who has to have a say in such things. I also see some mileage getting eaten.

Suppose your friends are interesting people with strong opinions - truly good people saying things despite the threat of being fired or conceivably having a court case fabricated against them; such threats are frequent, and sometimes not empty, as was the case with one mathematician I know. (She was sued but not fired.) Some, in the face of even worse threats that... almost never get fulfilled, but are still very unpleasant. Your friends speak the truth loudly and untiringly, and at some point they lose patience with people who question it, and after a while start implying that questioning it must be motivated by more than curiosity.

You are the local ruminant who gets to hear stuff and chews at it. And then there comes the moment when nobody wants the ruminant, they were just being polite about it but it's really time to move on..?

I walk a fine line, being the ruminant; I still can give people gifts and listen to them and frame exciting things as questions, but I know I will pay for it. I just don't know, what.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2020-05-03T06:53:43.056Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We used to have posts like , so quite a few people would read it.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Stop saying wrong things · 2020-05-02T14:00:48.179Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have not stopped saying wrong things, but I have found that turning noble tasks into people-related problems sometimes goes some of the way, motivation-wise. And so does knowing whether you can quietly work on your own / need someone else to need your work / just don't care about something.

Like, I wanted to study German, once. I had begun and then dropped it. Now I study it again, because my kid is going to be learning it later in school and we decided (I decided) to start together. Now I don't have to think that I want to know the language, I only have to think that we need to overcome some verbs by the end of the week. I also get to grouse about how he doesn't get such simple things.

But I can't work on my own, I already know it from life.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on The Embarrassing Problem of Premature Exploitation · 2020-05-01T07:54:14.619Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's an old haunting dream of the field biologist; if only his surveys were just a horizon wider... :) Although, the more literal the dilemma is, the easier it is to come to terms with the end result. And when your exploitation looks like other people's exploration OR you can hang one on the other, it helps, too.

For example, browsing new books your shop has just received, it's exploration of books and exploitation of time (and they pay you for it. That's just weird.) Riding your bike at six in the morning to dig up the potatoes (because it's too hot after ten) is a win-win, since it gets you on the bike on a wonderful morning and the potatoes in the cellar. Imagining yourself to be calling someone back in the 1800-s when you have your parents on the phone makes you more willing to explore their life, not just exploit your hardwon knowledge of the routine. (I actually told Mom it's like calling someone back in the 1800-s after she said her usual "everything is as it always has been". There was a pause, and then she said "Yes!")

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on It's Not About The Nail · 2020-04-27T21:20:49.989Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There are problems which are never meant to be solved. Like living with a mad dependent relative or something like that, which makes "me" want to take out a metaphysical knife and wound the listener's very soul for not having been there.

(I personally am very lucky in life.) I kinda have a special mind unit to slash at inside my own head. Whining at my husband does happen, but he has this great "yeah, and here we are, gosling" hug thing which makes most everything bearable.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Go F*** Someone · 2020-01-19T12:57:12.859Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, when a person who has been building his or her career becomes "staying at home", the person doesn't just lose standing among peers and colleagues. He or she loses peers and colleagues, at all. It is one thing to be known as "someone who is no longer staying at work until nine", but it's quite a different thing to just not be known anymore. It makes you... lonely.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Mary Chernyshenko's Shortform · 2020-01-18T14:57:39.249Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The unshareable evidence.

I have a friend, a fellow biologist. A much more focused person, in terms of "gotta do this today", with lower barriers for action (e.g., I help her with simple English, but she is the one to tutor kids in it, and so on.) I have known her for about ten years.

And over time, I learned that her cousin died at seventeen. It was the time when atypical pneumonia was around, and he died in a hospital a week after he fell ill with typical symptoms, but his certificate had another kind of pneumonia in it. Officially, there was no AP in the area. And his death changed the familial structure so that it is still unbalanced, in a way, years later. Her sister has recently lost half a finger, after an accident with a saw, when there was a good chance of saving it. Both her children (one 14, the other 3 years old) usually get horrifying allergic swellings and fever from even the common bugs, and then only slowly get better. In the city region where she lives, there is one neurologist for ten thousand people, and she can't get an appointment. I keep hearing about such things when I visit her.

Her kids are unvaccinated.

We have talked about it, and she said all the usual things about vaccines causing autism, and the mercury, and the questionable quality etc. The Kitchen Argument uniting people all over the world.

Of course, the link between vaccines and autism was disproved, but this means that somebody did take it seriously. It's not one woman's struggle or suspicions, its The Statistics. You can discuss it much like weather - you're being polite! It gives me an ugly feeling, that a friend of mine should hide behind common and expected and false - she knows it's false - lore because she knows the script and to know that it was I who forced her to it. I and people like me gave her this shield.

But the pneumonia, the finger and the swellings, the life which she builds her thoughts around, never get mentioned. We've had the same education, we both know this has no relation to the narrow question of having some shots, but - there's shareable evidence, and then there's unshareable evidence. And in this setting, people don't have to update on evidence, even when they exchange some of it. With obvious goodwill all around.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Go F*** Someone · 2020-01-18T12:15:48.516Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW
  1. "Wow, new words."
  2. Would that mean that married people are losers, from the discussed point of view, for the simple reason of having married at all, nevermind whom?
  3. You're kind of saying that the only way to not be lonely is to have lover(s). Is it cultural? I mean, I have a female friend with whom I meet as regularly as our kids' health permits us. She is the only person outside my family and relatives who does give a damn about me (enough for a phone call, for an informal invitation etc.) When I think about being lonely (and it happens to married people), I usually think that I should call her or get myself a dog, at last. Not a lover. That seems more about "bored" than "lonely".
Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open & Welcome Thread - January 2020 · 2020-01-11T09:07:27.410Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes it seems to me that old-ish reference books (on not too-hard science) age into cinematographic world-building. For example, there are some good volumes on the vegetation structure of European forests c. 1950-s. As botanic material, they are dated: the woods have burnt, grown, got paved, incorporated alien species etc., and the current methods to describe vegetation are more demanding.

Yet as simple pictures of the state of the world, grainy and washed out in places, they are good enough.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on On Doing the Improbable · 2020-01-01T19:05:05.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

...and there's a difference between "didn't do it, things remained as they were (when otherwise they would be better)" and "didn't do it and suddenly all was lost (when otherwise it would not be)". People do improbable things of the latter kind. I expect that quite a few cancer remissions that do happen are actually improbable, if only because the treatment requires lots of money.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Moloch Hasn’t Won · 2019-12-29T19:22:08.264Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Oh you firstwolder, you. Scott is so right somewhere.

(and how do you know that "Most communities do get most people to pitch in"?)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Propagating Facts into Aesthetics · 2019-12-29T16:51:17.600Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In my experience, forests might be scary or safe. Uplifting or tiring (e.g., when there's a lot of light falling mosaically which makes it harder to distinguish shape and colour, or simply if the terrain is difficult). Trashed or robust, etc. And a scary, trashed, tiring forest might take your breath away all for an accident of the sun.

What I mean, when you have seen enough of something, your aesthetics go places you never meant them to. You begin to avoid calling it "beautiful" or "ugly", you just want more of it because you know it.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on How asexuality became an identity · 2019-12-25T22:03:14.332Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Reproduction will become a dreary task? Undertaken only with monomaniacal determination or a clear utilitarian gain? Have you ever tried to put a teething child to sleep?..

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution · 2019-12-21T09:03:32.248Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

About the idea inoculation bit. It doesn't even require an idiot or two to be the first to explain an idea. (Although maybe I'm thinking about a different thing.)

It so happens that in the course of biology instruction in highschool and college where I live, the tradition is to open several courses with the same topic. Specifically, The Structure of the Cell. (Another motif, for botanists, is The General Life Cycle of Plants. I'm sure other specialties have their own Foundations.) And it's an important topic, but after the third time you just feel... dumber... when the teacher begins to talk about it. As if you try to find something new and exciting or in any case something to think about, and there's nothing there.

I would say it is the "keeping the abstraction level constant" that does it. I felt like I've got to actively work to avoid stupor and a desire to "just see it die in peace".

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Approval Extraction Advertised as Production · 2019-12-21T08:34:38.398Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

yes, the one.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Approval Extraction Advertised as Production · 2019-12-18T18:48:44.919Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(seems like HC's post is the most "meta" part of the discussion. Could we maybe talk about it, instead? That thing where in the world with AI, the concepts of a job and job satisfaction will undergo terrible change?)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2019 · 2019-12-18T11:50:44.715Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes it seems to me that LW is too ready to build for the ages. The best heuristics, the best textbooks, the best meetup practices. Either there should be mandatory time thresholds for re-evaluations, or we should maybe relax about this. (Except for the Boring Advice Repository, perhaps.)