Comment by Micaiah_Chang on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T09:31:21.132Z · LW · GW

I think you're confusing conservative-as-facade with conservative-as-need-for-survival. Do you really think that having a mascot would decrease the chance of it surviving?

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey - Call For Critiques/Questions · 2014-10-13T19:41:56.292Z · LW · GW

Not exactly a question per se, but I remember Yvain complaining about invalid entries, such as words in the number field etc. etc.

This sounds like something that simple Regular Expressions could speed up. Perhaps we could ask him what his current survey workflow is and try to see where they can fit?

Although this advice seems a bit TOO obvious not to have been mentioned before. Apologies if so.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on October 2014 Media Thread · 2014-10-04T08:15:40.096Z · LW · GW

I highly, highly recommend Naoki Urasawa's Monster. While I'm not sure it quite reaches the level of a novel, its characters are well developed, multi-dimensional and engaging. It's been quite some time since I've seen it.

Unfortunately, the only official localization of the series by Viz seems to have been canceled, but I believe HBO is planning to adapt it into a live action series.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on What are you learning? · 2014-09-16T04:00:08.100Z · LW · GW

Along the lines of Remembering the Kanji, but significantly more entertaining is KanjiDamage, which features more yo momma jokes than necessary for learning Japanese, but is moderately entertaining and also provides example compound words and usage.

It also has a premade deck for Anki, if you wish to overcome the initial overwhelming barrier of having to make them. Inferior to making them yourself, as the cards tend to be too dense, but better than loafing around.

Incidentally, even if you do not end up using it, check out the Dupes Appendix which disambiguate homonyms which are also synonyms.

If you plan to practice by reading web pages, I highly recommend Rikaisama for Firefox and Rikaikun for Chrome.

These extensions automatically give definitions upon mousing over Japanese text. Highly useful as a way of eliminating the trivial inconvenience of lookup. I will warn you that EDICT translations (the default back end to rikai) tends to give a very incomplete and sometimes misleading definition of a word (seldom used meanings of a word are presented alongside the common ones without differentiation) but it's still better than nothing. I would advise moving onto a Japanese-Japanese dictionary as soon as possible (probably a year or so down the line depending on commitment).

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 · 2013-08-30T22:07:30.861Z · LW · GW

There's no pictures and the first time I get the dossier is on the day I teach my class. It's slightly premature optimization to start an anki before the first week of TAing, because about 5 or so students shuffle in an out during the first two or so weeks. Currently though, I'm applying for a physics major only class where there would be pictures and the class size is much more static.

Thanks for suggesting an out and out comparison. It hadn't really occurred to me to do this if I do land the other job.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 · 2013-08-29T20:11:18.792Z · LW · GW

Using Antisuji's system:

  • (+3) Emacs Keybindings + Listing good usecases for the bindings
  • (+1) Git commands
  • (+2) Compound Kanji
  • (+1) Basic Unix Command Line
  • (+0/+0.5) C I/O Function prototypes
  • (+3) Gaussian Integrals
  • (+4) Addresses
  • (+1) GRE Vocabulary words (All of it from taking the GRE, not from general usage)

I've considered adding all of my family's birthday's to the list but 1) I'm too embarrassed to ask 2) Calenders are an easier solution. Has anyone else done something similar?

Also, indirectly, I teach a class of about 25~ students every quarter and while I don't put them in a deck, I make sure that I'm exposed to the entire classes' names in a roughly spaced repetition way (First class I attempt to say everyone's name twice, grade different assignments at the appropriate spacing and 'reset' my schedule for mistaken names). This has caused my students to respect me as a teacher much more (No other Teaching Assistant knows everyone's name!) and slightly deters people from being quiet when they don't understand something (as I can just call out their name).

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on August 2013 Media Thread · 2013-08-04T19:47:36.399Z · LW · GW

Umineko runs on Nscripter, which is closed source according to wiki. Fate/Stay Night runs on Kirikiri2, which is, indeed open source.

I'm not sure if the Umineko translation worked like the Tsukihime one, where they ported it over to the open source ONscripter, but AFAIK there is no way to change the text scroll behavior.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on August 2013 Media Thread · 2013-08-04T19:39:14.213Z · LW · GW

Note that the patch which removes the content also adds in PS2 specific content, like voices and CGs, the CGs are mostly on the final route. You can pick an option which only adds content and doesn't remove any.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2012-08-19T20:23:38.873Z · LW · GW

All three look promising. However, you might be pidgeonholing yourself by trying to go back to the "SRS as generalized learning tool". For most people, it would appear as if that's too abstract. You may be much better off focusing on the most generally appealing use case (The name-face ID one sounds the most promising; I can't imagine any people who weren't already self-motivated autodidacts using the first two). In fact, it might turn out to be much better than than the original Anki-as-service app; it appears to me that many more people view "oh god what's her name I just met her a week ago THINK" as a problem than "Oh, hm, it appears I've forgotten how to say 'praying mantis' in Japanese".

To extend the Name-Face identification concept, you could also add things such as people's birthdays, dates of important events such as anniversaries into it; although I'm not sure how many of those things aren't problems anymore because of calenders etc.

I can't comment too much on the "Twilio of online learning" idea; I don't know the interest level of online courses such as Udacity, Coursera and Codeacademy on something like that. Although I will warn that there's a real risk that it'll be treated as "just another complicated feature that I don't need to use" by the average student. But if you get a hardcore userbase who are happy with the product and willing to give feedback then you're in much better shape than trying to arbitrarily design for the "average" user.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2012-08-17T00:56:05.228Z · LW · GW

I imagine this would be very hard to monetize and get customers as-is. The below is merely a brief list of problems that I've thought about

The average user needs to be sold on the effectiveness of a product very fast, on the first usage (or perhaps even sooner!) in order for them to continue using. However, SRS software in general are almost by definition antithetical to that goal: Their benefits do not come until far into the future, worse still it's an undefined time in the future. Sure you can use arguments about the benefits of SRS and the psychology of memory and , but it would appear to be an uphill battle to make the benefits immediately relevant and immediately relevant to the people who wouldn't already be using Anki and other free equivalents.

In addition, before you can even start using the product as advertised, you have to learn how to make cards that are easy to memorize or download a deck which is already well made. The first is "Wait so you want me to learn all these tiny rules before I can even start learning? ". The second presents a chicken-and-egg problem. How are you going to have high quality decks that teach things? By having users! How are you going to get users? By having high qual- oh, darn.

It would appear that your general idea is going in the right direction; to make the best SRS program as painless as possible and to extend it to be more powerful. Your emphasis though, would appear to be more oriented toward existing power users of SRS. So there's the matter of getting them to switch which... I have no idea how hard that would be. (Sample size of two; you'd obviously build something you'd want to use; I'd jump on board instantly if I could transfer my existing Anki decks).

One possible solution to the adoption is to piggyback it on an existing service; if users get to use it as an additional option on something they already use habitually then getting consistent usage wouldn't be as much of a problem. I believe Khan Academy has expressed interest in including SRS in there. Another is to try and "gamify" it (argh I hate that word) by either making the entire application a sort of game or incorporating cow clicker like features in there to get the user hooked (IT'S NOT EVIL IF THE ADDICTION IS GOOD).

The making your own decks feature can be mostly hidden from the normal user, with a gradual introduction to it as they use the product more (paid feature?). As for having high quality decks; you can try porting the entire Anki library of downloadable decks, filter them in some way and use that to bootstrap up to a much higher standard of quality.

Of course, any and all advice here means absolutely jack compared to the behavior of actual users; release a minimal version, see who bites and check to see what the users complain about before even thinking about what I said here. Making money is and should probably be a distant 4th or 5th consideration behind making a product that you would use and making it easily extensible.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Ask an experimental physicist · 2012-06-10T20:19:33.157Z · LW · GW

So what is the orthodox formulation of QM, which is perfectly compatible with decoherance and doesn't resemble the straw man? I'm sorry if you've posted this elsewhere, but I'd really like to know what you think.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Near Concerns About Life Extension · 2012-06-09T05:37:24.045Z · LW · GW

I haven't voted on this comment yet, but I was very tempted to. While I do disagree with it, I'm more irritated that it makes several unsupported generalizations. You admit that there's a bias involved in the arguments against life extension and then say that it's to stop hubris, then you handwave away any evidence that you could provide to back up your argument. Sure you might not be able to prove that it's hubris, surely something led you to believe that that could also persuade others right?

The rest of my complaints run in a similar vein; average life expectancy has been increasing for at least 50 years now, surely there's evidence showing how people have damaged the common good in the name of life extension (Ballooning healthcare costs comes to mind). You generalize that all LWer's have a fear of death... how? Who have you seen talking about being afraid of death? Why would rationality be insufficient? How do you know your views are getting downvoted on the sole basis of expressing an unpopular opinion?

If your other comments were of similar quality to this one, I wouldn't have a hard time imagining why they were downvoted. They come off more as rants than as carefully measured attempts at argument.

I will say though, that if you do try and provide arguments that I'd be happy to upvote it.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Open Thread, June 1-15, 2012 · 2012-06-02T02:32:06.122Z · LW · GW

I have. I had something like 50-30% adherence to it during June-September, something like adherence 4 days out of a week from October until the start of December, one month off during December because of family obligations and then mostly bulletproof from the new year onwards, with me ordering the coffee and everything. I would say that I go "off" the diet about one meal per two weeks, but as much as possible "slightly" (for example, a single meal with enough rice in it to take me out of ketosis).

Since I've started the diet, I've also made other adjustments, such as striving for at least seven hours per night, scheduling my time better to reduce stress and not going hungry because I'm too unmotivated to make food. Keep these in mind on top of all the other 'wacky' self experiment biases. (Alternatively I CAN PRIME YOU TO ASSOCIATE ME WITH LOW STATUS BY TYPING IN ALL CAPS!!!1)

  1. Last year, I weighed about 177 +/-3 pounds. Now I weigh about 145 +/- 2 lb (Edit: actually 135 at the time of the post. Reweighed myself and that was the new weight.). I reached 145lb during late September while not fully on the diet and maintained it, except for an unknown period in late December - mid January where I went up to about 152lb, I think that implies something back home caused me to gain weight, although whether it's food or vacation loafing is hard to say.
  2. I used to have consistent problems staying awake in morning classes, and large amounts of brain fog after meals. These problems have largely vanished, except when I take a meal off the diet or have had insufficient sleep for other reasons such as (see 3).
  3. I, unlike wmorgan, have been food poisoned. I think I narrowed the likely causes down to either eating factory eggs from chickens without antibiotics used on them or improperly preparing chicken livers. Since then, I have replaced the factory eggs with pastured ones with cooked whites (which also happen to taste better) and replacing chicken livers with beef.
  4. I feel a lot more focused on days where I have bulletproof coffee to pull me through, until the coffee wears off anyway. Note that days where I take the coffee are also days where I feel I've had insufficient sleep.
  5. I took a blood test during the latter part of December, which indicates that my numbers are stellar. Now, I realize that I was off the diet by then and not adhering particularly well before, but at the very least, short term consumption of this diet wouldn't damage you more than half a month's worth of a standard diet could fix you. At most, it can heal you for more than half a month's worth of a standard diet!
  6. On occasions where I deviate from the diet (social events, dashing out without breakfast, cravings for pizza), the effect is very noticeable: About 20 minutes after eating, I get steadily increasing brain fog, then get nearly knocked out for the next 15 minutes. A headache then persists for two hours after. Sometimes I wake up with headaches the next day. This is either an effect of the diet, or me simply noticing I have a gluten allergy (I haven't been tested yet). Either way, if you value gluten products, pizza and soda more than you expect to gain from this diet, it's something you should be aware of.

Notes: My meals consist of one of the following: 5 cups of steamed broccoli + 3-4tbs grassfed butter, 4 softboiled eggs / Sunny side up + Bulletproof coffee. ~2/3rds a pound of liver + 2 sunny side up eggs + 2-3tbs butter, two baked sweet potatoes + 4tbs butter. Carb cravings are stopped with a handful of berries at night when I get them (once a month). I eat only twice per day, with no substantial pangs from hunger unless I skip breakfast or I end up staying 8+ hours at school (ah, the wonderful experience of a physics undergraduate on a quarter system.) It's not hard to stick to the diet when you know you lose two hours of the day to it and feel terrible to boot.

The one weekend where I made the bulletproof ice cream was a pretty damn decadent weekend of my life. If time and the spirit of adventure are available, I'd say it's a go.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Learn A New Language! · 2012-05-21T03:06:09.460Z · LW · GW

If you use Firefox Rikaichan is an option (Note, I'm not sure if it's compatible with the latest version; haven't upgraded in forever). Chrome has a version named rikaikun is also an option. Also, install an IME so that you can type in the language, I would personally recommend google IME because it's much more comprehensive than the default microsoft one. You can use this to check words if you think you know how they're pronounced, typing it out in a text field and rikaiing it if you want a super quick reference on the computer.

For getting faster at dictionary lookup, memorize the basic radicals and understand how the strokes are done. You can use Heisig to do this (Be warned, while Heisig advertises itself as a kanji learning tool, it doesn't actually teach you anything you would want to know, such as proper usage, pronunciation, nuance and cultural context) or you can work through Kanjidamage (WARNING: PERHAPS, MAYBE, CONTAINS MANY PENIS JOKES USE WITH CAUTION ).

I have a recommendation for works you could read and which are compatible with all the tools I have outlined so far but have a preference against revealing it. PM me if you want to know.

Other helpful resources: A dictionary

Phrase lookups

Both are completely in Japanese, although the dictionary has both E-J and J-J options (英和 and 和英 radio buttons).

Unfortunately I have no answer to the Chinese question, or rather, the answer is "grow up in China and then let your reading and writing atrophy because you like English better." There's a dictionary but otherwise I'm at a loss at what else would help.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Be Happier · 2012-04-22T19:13:39.002Z · LW · GW

Hm, I don't see anything in there at this moment; and I'm not confident enough to say that I know everything in the article but...

Is there any research on how entertainment *types affects happiness levels? I don't mean genres necessarily, but let's say, low cognitive load works like Bond movies, summer action flicks and slapstick comedies versus 'artsy' high cognitive load works like Schindler's list, Shakespeare plays and hard scifi.

So what I have is two apparently conflicting pieces of information. I know that people like to put off the latter for the former. Suggesting that people feel as if the EV from the artsy works is lower (because of prep time needed to get into the right emotional state, thinking required during the work, a more abstract impression of its qualities from reviews rather than colleagues).

You're also supposed to enjoy artsy stuff more, and it happens to pattern match to some of the happiness advice here: The salient feature of artsy works is that it's easy to reflect on them, they tend to be novel, "sad" works brings your "haves" into sharp relief, the preparation and delay of the experience...

Actually, could it be that artsy works are viewed as artsy because of the memeplex we set up around them rather than any inherent, mysterious quality factor surrounding them? Hm. If this were true, it would mean that if we treated pop culture like high culture, we'd get the same amount of high utility from more sources.

Of course, I could be overthinking this; it's mere akrasia favoring pop culture, high culture is high culture simply because it's 'objectively the best' and all the pattern matching I did earlier is proof of quality.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Open Thread, April 1-15, 2012 · 2012-04-03T06:04:22.644Z · LW · GW

Hi Helloses! I'm also new, so I'm not too sure of community norms, but you might have wanted to post in the welcome thread where first comments are usually voted up a few points by other users on this site and allow you to ~integrate~ into the community in a pop and fun manner*.

I've voted your post up already so you're halfway there! Although you might not want to make a habit of asking for karma.

  • Neither pop nor fun is guaranteed.
Comment by Micaiah_Chang on I'm starting a game company and looking for a co-founder. · 2012-03-18T04:59:18.054Z · LW · GW

I don't see why Alexei should be concerned about most of your points, because they're based off of several unexamined conditions.

Not finishing the game only matters if he plans to implement DLC or microtransactions, the customer has already paid for the game, why should the seller worry then? Of course, the main point is that if the customer hasn't finished the games he has, why should he pay for more games? While this seems like a reasonable assumption, I don't quite think it's quite clear cut. Anecdotally, I've seen people with 50+ game backlogs continue to purchase new games. On top of that, I don't think it's clear to think a backlog of any amount game precludes or even dissuades a consumer from all games; just because I have a 80 hour long jRPG unfinished on my PS3 doesn't mean I won't purchase a cheap iPhone game like Angry birds. So we need to look at rapidly growing sections of the industry where relatively few startups have been formed.

I don't view criticism as a major problem. You can't criticize a game until you've purchased it for one, and considering that most video game sales take place within a narrow timeframe of release (two weeks I believe), large amounts of criticism on forums appears to be a mark of successful video games! Of course, this isn't including hits that become successful after a long period of time due to word of mouth--Disgaea coming to mind, but Alexei is aiming for a more short term strategy rather than a long term series so word of mouth is not a strategy he would want to employ.

Mass Effect 3 in particular is a bad example, because Bioware is likely going to profit off of the complaints (Read: We made a mistake, now you're going to give us money, I'll admit I'm simplifying this because I'm ignoring opportunity costs incurred for working on other products.) This isn't including other cases like the outcry against Left4Dead2, where most of the complainers signed a boycott petition and brought the game anyway! In light of this information, I see no reason to suppose complaints have a strong correlation with reduced consumer spending.

The videogame industry still remains resilient and profitable despite hits to other entertainment industries, indicating that if saturation is a problem it hasn't been enough of one to stop the industry's growth. Of course, you can claim that it's a few large companies such as Nintendo, Blizzard and Valve expanding the industry (and they have been aggressively expanding) but in the end we still need to look at how well VG startups do.

Just to mention, tc would need to look for distribution channels other than the traditional 'send it to a brick and mortar store and hope it sells'. That would be the place where first movers have the greatest advantage relative to him and where the profit margins all lie within a exceedingly short timeframe. Microtransactions for a free or nearly free game, a la Riotgames, would be a good distribution model to investigate (I confess to availability bias on this one; I haven't looked at other companies who have tried the model and failed).

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 10 · 2012-03-16T08:52:08.272Z · LW · GW

Why would Quirrel go to Fuyuki City in 1983? The 5th Holy Grail War takes place around 2003, with the 4th 10 years before during 1993. Assuming that Quirrel knew about the Grail Wars, he'd also have known about the 60 year cycles and would have little reason to arrive earlier. The earliest Zero relevant information happens eight years earlier in 1985. The closest event in TYPE MOON chronology would be Shiki's birth or the first case of Agonist Disorder. But the former is related more to Misaki town than Fuyuki city and the latter is from DDD... which only has an obscure, mostly unread translation!

So I'm probably overthinking the connection to Fuyuki; it's probably just a one off reference. It's that or the timeline was 'magically' shifted forward by 10 years, with the 5th grail war in 1993 and the 4th in 1983...

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Rationality Quotes March 2012 · 2012-03-11T21:16:05.296Z · LW · GW

They say that God created the world in a week didn't they? That's way too irresponsible. If he did create the world, surely he made some comment like 'This isn't something I would've made.' or perhaps 'Hold on! It's not done yet!'

~ Sca-自 Subarashiki Hibi ~Discontinuous Existence~ (personal translation)

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on March 2012 Media Thread · 2012-03-02T11:21:28.469Z · LW · GW

So just curious, has anyone seen the 8th episode of Nisemonogatari and had the same mixed reaction of awkward, shock, disbelief but most of all hilarity because they noticed what their brain was doing? For all I've said, I still have no idea what I felt toward that particular episode.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Elevator pitches/responses for rationality / AI · 2012-02-08T07:00:17.397Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure if this deserves its own article, so I'm posting it here: What would be an interesting cognitive bias / debiasing technique to cover in a [Pecha kucha] ( style presentation for a college writing class?

Given the format, it should be fairly easy to explain(I have less time than advertised, only 15 slides instead of 20!) So far, I've thought about doing the planning fallacy, representativeness heuristic or the disjunction fallacy. All three are ones I can already speak casually about and don't leap out at me as empowering motivated cognition (...a topic which would empower it, huh)

I would personally like to do Bayes Theorem, but I can't 1) Think of a way to compress it down to five minutes 2) Can't think of ways for other people to help compress it down to five minutes without also omitting the math.

Downvote if this is off topic. If not, please tell me why because I'll just assume it's an offtopic downvote!

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-21T19:21:08.555Z · LW · GW

I wonder if there's a different attitude toward spoilers or "great works of art" in the Wizarding World because of memory charms. Hats which could charm endings or plots out of people's minds, people who would only read one book over and over again by repeatedly blasting it out of their heads, or museums/theme parks Obliviating any previous experience there so that every time is fresh.

Would also like to see Eliezer lampshade the Snape kills Dumbledore spoiler by having everyone present self obliviate or something similar.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-18T22:50:40.417Z · LW · GW

One thing that I've wondered about-and note that I'm not entirely sure if this is the right venue for asking- is what Eliezer thinks about the Visual Novel format a storyline structure (obviously not for MOR, that increases the entry barrier way too much for a cute and pop introduction to Rationality. ) I know that he decided to use the Normal/True ending for the Three Worlds Collide story, but what does he think about, let's say, the relatively long common route into different story branches format, the three "distinct" story format (Fate/Stay Night), or the "controlled redo format" (sort of like Tsukihime, where in order to get a complete idea of the setting, characterization and themes you need to finish all the routes in a certain order).

I half wish there's a magical encyclopedia for MoR like there was in Fate/Stay Night, but that's understandably not as fun to read or write as actually showcasing the powers.

Although talking about made me think: I totally want to see an Omake where Harry gets Bad Ended by getting addicted to video games after he goes back to his parents for the summer...

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2011-09-01T07:46:57.803Z · LW · GW

I hope there is far more Harry doing chuu2 (third definition) things in the story. At the very least I find it completely awesome when developed characters that I like start doing utterly chuu2 things like making up chants, pretending they are in contact with mysterious entities, laughing insanely for no reason or trying to topple the status quo with mad scientist powers

...I mean come ON they even share the same tendency to evilly laugh. Although, yes one is an obvious parody of chuu2 actions and one is just pretending to be one for laughs. I wonder if Harry will start sending owls with cryptic messages on them to nowhere or give Hermione 50 different nicknames (all affectionately referring to her as his minion)


Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2011-08-25T17:28:19.467Z · LW · GW

Part of the time when I was reading Deathly Hallows, and all of the time I was reading MoR I always expected Harry or at least SOMEONE else to act like Kiritsugu from Fate/Zero. Imagine: Enchanted portkeys with no destination yet programmed in attached to home made bombs, flash-bang grenades as a staple in wizarding duels to disrupt aiming/concentration, to say nothing of the videogameesque ability to actually carry around an entire armory with you or heal yourself much quicker EVEN IF YOU DON'T USE MAGIC.

(For those of you who don't know, Kiritsugu is a mage assassin who takes advantage of the Magic Association's technophobia and uses weapons as a regular part of the kit: Mages aren't going to defend against you if you're a mile off with a sniper rifle and they aren't going to defend against landmines if they don't know they exist!)

Edit: Actually, scratch the Kiritsugu idea I just want Neville to cast a shield charm of some sort at his feet so he can rocket jump from staircase to staircase at some point. Pity Quake 2 is five years in the future.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Meetup : San Diego social meet-up · 2011-08-10T08:17:25.000Z · LW · GW

Dibs on that ride.


I had a lot of fun last time, but somehow magically managed to miss out on all the Singularity-type discussions. Or at least, I thought I did. Should make it a goal to talk with someone savvy enough on the topic.

Also, I think the lack of speakers for the projector should be in the original post too; just in case someone wants to show a video too and for some ~mysterious~ reason the laptop speakers aren't loud enough.

Comment by Micaiah_Chang on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-07-23T22:00:29.173Z · LW · GW

Hello all!

I'm a twenty year old college student studying physics. My introduction to LessWrong has most likely been lost to the ravages of time (although there's this nagging feeling I was linked here by a random forum post on GameFAQs). That was about a year, year and a half ago. I've read about halfway through the sequences via the haphazard method of "Wow that's interesting I guess I'll drop the next hour or so reading it." While I realize that finishing the sequences is highly recommended, I haven't seen a significant amount of large-inferential-distance-statements-oh-geez-what-is-going-on here type posts so I think I'll be fine despite my incompleteness.

As to the more pertinent question of my road to rationality, well, I was raised in China where religion was nearly nonexistent and my first exposure to the Bible was a picture book which I treated more or less like Greek or Egyptian myths (~8 years old). This lead to a natural interest in the New Atheism movement which articulated my unspoken problems with religion and exposing me to the skeptics community as well (15-17 years old). However, a small nag at the back of my mind floated that there was something I was doing wrong if I was pursuing truth, despite the apparent correctness of the atheist position!

In comes LessWrong (~19 years old). In some cases, merely repeating things that I had thought and agreed with (but never acted upon! so basically not anything I valued) to opening up entirely new avenues of thought (Mostly newcombtype problems and decision theories). A post that Yvain made a while back about X-rationality, which downplayed the clarity of thought afforded by reading LessWrong, was in complete opposition to my own experience. I felt something close to constant... joy I suppose? as I observed previously confusing and opaque subjects become understandable and transparent. Where's Waldo with model fitting induced utilitons if you will.

The catalyst for joining the community though, was the meetup here in the San Diego area. While it would be inaccurate to say that I'm unsatisfied with my life, I feel as if a lot of my satisfaction arises out of complacency and adherence to the status quo rather than a response to accomplishing any goals (a poor man's wirehead indeed!). Going to a meetup with a lot of smart, engaged and most of all unconfused people might clear up my confusion for my life goals, but the real goal here is to meet new people.

Perhaps I'll just use this account as a karma, PM and meetup bot, I do have a busy schedule. Or perhaps I will try to contribute to the community. Either way, the plan is to have fun, take names and fall off the shoulders of giants repeatedly.

Note, Micaiah is not my real first name, it arose out of a conversation where a friend compared me to the Biblical prophet, because I frequently make unpleasant predictions which turn out to be true anyway.