Comment by michelle_z on What is your rationalist backstory? · 2015-10-19T22:56:46.039Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I read HPMOR and thought "if this stuff (meaning rationality) actually works, it's powerful in a way that I haven't seen before." I remember thinking something like that at the time, but memory is fairly unreliable. I'll have to dig through old journals to see if I mentioned it anywhere.

The sequences also had the advantage of being written in an entertaining way. Beyond that, I'm not sure what makes me any different. I'd like to think I'm special or have some trait that makes me more prone to rationality, but that's purely self-serving. More likely it's luck-- reading it at the right time when I was in a headspace to absorb that kind of knowledge.

Comment by michelle_z on What is your rationalist backstory? · 2015-10-06T22:22:56.988Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I read HPMOR. That got me interested in Lesswrong. The most I can say for pre-rationalist!me was that I was curious and a bit creative.

Comment by michelle_z on Bragging Thread July 2015 · 2015-07-22T02:02:24.927Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I was accepted into graduate school at a nice university for bioinformatics.

Comment by michelle_z on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-08T17:20:25.975Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Me too.

Comment by michelle_z on European Community Weekend 2015 - Followup · 2015-07-08T17:19:15.325Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A 6ft crocodile is necessary at such events. I'm really not sure how you all managed without Mr. Scaly. :)

Comment by michelle_z on European Community Weekend 2015 - Followup · 2015-07-06T22:06:35.409Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Clearly, this event needed many more owls.

Comment by michelle_z on A Year of Spaced Repetition Software in the Classroom · 2015-07-06T18:02:15.184Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I wish my high school teachers had done this.

A+

Comment by michelle_z on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year Two · 2015-04-30T05:55:44.355Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The crocodiles and owls are our best residents. Especially the 6 ft (2 meter) long crocodile named Mr. Scaly. He is Great and Proud and Frolicsome.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T03:02:58.297Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I cannot be truly killed by any power known to me.

Prophecy, much? The power he knows not? I mean, that's a gimme but...

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T03:48:40.336Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. But two minutes before that he was thinking of taking Cedric, and then we get a cut scene to him sneaking about in the hallway with Lesath. That implies that Cedric might still be in play, otherwise we probably would've gotten a short sentence or two on why he chose Lesath over Cedric.

Cedric, who may or may not have a time turner, could quite possibly show up.

Comment by michelle_z on Bragging Thread February 2015 · 2015-02-16T03:43:22.442Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As a freelance artist, I've illustrated a published book by age 21, and have been hired again to illustrate the sequel.

I'm working on chapter 17 of my ongoing web serial after a fairly long intermission. Currently, I've written 872 words out of an estimated 4000 for that chapter, and plan to release it by the end of February.

I'm graduating college in May with a B.S. in biological sciences, and for my senior thesis project I've been identifying orphan peptides on the genomes of arthrobacter bacteriophages. I'm hoping my work with genomics and proteomics will help me get a job doing something with life extension research.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T02:27:37.018Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

"Harry had refreshed the Transfigurations he was maintaining, both the tiny jewel in the ring on his hand and the other one."

Hermione, probably.

The play on words with the title of the chapter (Riddles and Answers) and the final reveal was neat. Harry might be a copy of Quirrell!mort who's had his memory erased (rememberall,) and good ol' Quirrell!mort needs Harry to get the stone because...?

I'm still really curious how the Deathly Hallows are going to tie into this.

Also, where the hell is Cedric Diggory? Will it be another situation like what happened with the troll? The spare gets killed, or Harry is the spare, and is found defective?

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T02:03:24.750Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh dear. Bets on how badly this will end?

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, January 2015, chapter 103 · 2015-01-29T02:37:38.000Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I saw that and laughed irl.

There's probably no significance to a dead girl getting a grade for a class she did not complete. Probably.

Comment by michelle_z on Where is the line between being a good child and taking care of oneself? · 2014-12-05T17:07:15.396Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This does read like a textbook case of narcissistic parents. I speak from both experience and research.

Comment by michelle_z on My third-of-life crisis · 2014-11-11T21:54:30.711Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

*edits advice! Oops!

Comment by michelle_z on My third-of-life crisis · 2014-11-11T21:40:00.703Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Your parents did you a great disservice, though that doesn't mean you can't self-improve. I've faced similar struggles, though arguably not as severe. My parents were also a large driving force in my life and had me make decisions I did not want to make. For depression, I'd say to make it a habit to find a couple things every day to be appreciative of. For cash, I'd try tutoring people online english. A lot of parents of high school students concerned about their children's grades and getting into college, and will spend money to have them tutored, even if it's online. There are also agencies to go through for that.

For that matter, there are a lot of ordinary tasks people will pay money for you to do. You can be someone's online PA (again through agencies) or a copywriter. Point is, there are a lot of ways to earn money on the side, so you can get your head above water financially.

I don't know enough about the writing career to give any advice on that, nor do I know much about the state of Colombia. But from what you say, it sounds pretty difficult to make it there. This might sound a bit extreme, but have you considered moving to another country?

You're fluent in english, which means you probably could learn another language if you wanted. Duolingo has a number of languages on there that you could learn, so if you do consider moving to another country, you wouldn't be limited to countries that speak spanish or english.

Also check out holiday/work visas. I don't know if Colombia is one of the listed acceptable countries. You can work/holiday in australia, saving something like $18k-20k+ USD. Check out this post. As a potential plan, you can save up the money you need to get the visa using secondary income via tutoring languages, and then spend a year in Australia. There's no reason you couldn't keep taking online courses while doing that, and you'd end the year with a fair amount of money in your bank, which might allow you to study full-time for a bit, depending on the cost of living in Colombia or wherever you choose to go.

How confident am I that this can work? Well, I'm basically giving you my plan, except my side job is as an illustrator.

Comment by michelle_z on Group Rationality Diary, August 1-15 · 2014-08-13T03:22:23.344Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

http://mjzart.paperplane.io/ Freelance art. I was doing it a few years ago, but stopped when college became more time consuming. I'm planning on going to Australia on a work/holiday visa this upcoming May, and I need some money to do that. So it was a plan born more out of necessity more than anything.

Comment by michelle_z on Group Rationality Diary, August 1-15 · 2014-08-12T21:27:16.791Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I started a freelance business and have a client already.

Comment by michelle_z on Bragging Thread, August 2014 · 2014-08-06T04:07:01.812Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you!

Comment by michelle_z on Bragging Thread, August 2014 · 2014-08-05T00:53:09.216Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I made a website featuring my artwork and re-opened my freelance art business. I already have people asking about commissions! Yay!

I've written 12 chapters of my web serial, Watchmirror, over the course of the summer, and it recently topped 2000 page views. It doesn't sound like much, but it was way more than I ever expected.

Comment by michelle_z on Bragging Thread, June 2014 · 2014-06-18T04:58:51.124Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have completed and published the 10th scene of my web serial, Watchmirror. I completed a poster for my room in a new style, and did some art for that same web serial.

Comment by michelle_z on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2014-03-20T21:33:01.640Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. A number of people can recall a giant 6ft stuffed animal crocodile attacking Lachouette's head. There are plushies everywhere!

Comment by michelle_z on What are you working on? January 2014 · 2014-01-05T01:56:57.613Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Any advice for someone who might be moving from the east coast to the west in the next year and a half?

Comment by michelle_z on What are you working on? January 2014 · 2014-01-05T01:55:54.747Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm currently writing a fantasy novel. I plan on turning it into a web serial once I get enough of it written that I'm confident I won't fall behind in posting. So far I have 30,000 words written and have 90% of the book plotted out in detail. I don't have any specific goals for this project beyond wanting to finish it. I suppose when I put it up online, I will allow people to donate, but I don't really expect it to get that many reviews/etc. It's for my own pleasure, more or less. This is the prologue, if anyone is interested.

I am working on two workshops for my college's THINK chapter. One is on procrastination and the other is on learning techniques. The one on learning techniques has been completely outlined. I'm working on adding exercises that groups can do (it is a workshop, not a lecture.) The other only has a loose outline of what I want to cover.

I'm determining where I want to go for graduate school. I want to help with research in immortality and life extension, so I'm looking up researchers and research done in those fields to try to see where I should go, and if I have the grades/experience to get in those universities.

Comment by michelle_z on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-24T03:55:16.119Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've read it.

I feel my own judgement is suspect on this occasion. I don't know. I want to help her and she's alternating between being incredibly blase and being furious with me. It's not like I can just point her at some books to read, because her and my dad don't like to read. And the things that convinced me, my parents regard as rubbish or nonsense and get-your-head-out-of-space-go-get-married-and-be-normal-goddamnit!

If I continue to pursue this, either the relationship between my parents and I will suffer and they won't choose to freeze themselves, or they'll choose to freeze themselves and our relationship won't suffer. Large risk, large benefit.

My other consideration is to attempt to be subtle, plant the seeds in their heads that give them the sense that maybe the world doesn't work how they think it does (I managed to convince my dad that the earth was old and that dinosaurs did not roam the earth with humans this way, so it has some merit.)

Comment by michelle_z on Group Rationality Diary, December 16-31 · 2013-12-23T21:28:28.587Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

After dealing with the effects of bad procrastination over fall semester, I started working on anti-akrasia techniques last week. So far, it seems to be working.

Comment by michelle_z on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-23T21:26:13.620Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But if you actually cared about saving lives in general, you would apply your effort where it is more likely to pay off.

I already am. This is in addition to that.

It is definitely a good idea to talk to her about what selfish means, because my mother and I have differing views on what is selfish and what is not.

Comment by michelle_z on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-23T20:31:27.651Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

They weren't arguing that it wouldn't work. They think that being revived is selfish, that spending money on having your head frozen is selfish, and my mom says she wants to die. The old death=good cached thought seems to be one of the main driving factors. She also said there'd be no place for her in the future, that the world might be inconceivably different and strange, and that she would be unable to deal with it.

When I explained that some thousand people have done it, and a lot more are signed up, she said that was only "insane rich eccentrics" and when I explained that ordinary people do it, she said some nasty things about those people, along the lines of calling them nuts.

My main question was related towards figuring out if I should keep pursuing it, and try to change their minds, or if I should respect their wishes. I don't know what the right thing to do in this situation is- because saving lives is very important, but respecting others' rights is also pretty important. But the difficulty of this situation is compounded, because I'm angry with her and I don't want to give up because I'm angry.

Comment by michelle_z on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-23T03:40:03.018Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I did self help before I joined lesswrong, and had almost no results. I'd partially attribute Lesswrong to changing me in ways such that I switched my major from graphic design to biology, in an effort to help people through research. I've also gotten involved in effective altruism in my community, starting the local THINK club for my college, which is donating money to various (effective) charities. I have a lovely group of friends from the Lesswrong study hall who have been tremendously supportive and fun to be around. There are a number of other small things, like learning about melatonin, which fixed my insomnia...etc. but those are more of a result of being around people who are knowledgeable of such things, not necessarily lesswrong-people.

In short, yes, it is helpful.

Comment by michelle_z on Open thread for December 17-23, 2013 · 2013-12-23T03:31:52.974Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I want my family to be around in the far future, but they aren't interested. Is that selfish? I'm not sure what I should do, or if I should even do anything.

Comment by michelle_z on December Monthly Bragging Thread · 2013-12-14T19:16:53.535Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I raised money for AMF by running a fundraiser at my school.

Comment by michelle_z on PSA: Very important policy change at Cryonics Institute · 2013-10-06T04:32:49.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's the latter.

Comment by michelle_z on True Optimisation · 2013-09-03T22:18:30.615Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't heard much about that. Links?

Comment by michelle_z on True Optimisation · 2013-09-03T05:25:33.217Z · score: -2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

For the overpopulation problem: stop having kids.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97 · 2013-08-18T00:48:27.967Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore placed a ward on Hermione that alerted him to any "hostile magic" or "evil spirit" that touched her. Someone either got very lucky, or knew about the wards.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-18T04:32:12.331Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The man sitting on the grass fell over, his head impacting the ground with a light thud. At the same time the sense of doom diminished so sharply that Harry leapt to his feet, his heart suddenly in his throat.

Doesn't look too good for Quirrell.

Comment by michelle_z on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism · 2013-07-09T01:02:18.580Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! I'll check that out.

Comment by michelle_z on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism · 2013-07-09T01:01:49.221Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That's a good idea. I could try to advertise it that way, since I'm having major issues finding a single person at my college interested in effective altruism. I might be wrong, but do you think it would be harder to get people interested in rationality, or to get them interested in effective altruism? My priors tell me that charity > rationalism in many people's minds, but I'm not sure.

EDIT: I decided to go with the rationality club idea. There's no real advantage in my original plan compared to opening a THINK club, which is basically the same idea except I can do more fun things with it. Thanks for the advice!

Comment by michelle_z on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism · 2013-07-08T19:39:22.857Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This looks very useful! Thank you!

Comment by michelle_z on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism · 2013-07-08T17:40:02.227Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I was going to post something about this in the open thread, but this post just popped up.

I've been putting together a club for Effective Altruism on my campus (Cavaliers for Effective Altruism), and I'm stuck. I can run fundraisers and donate the money to a charity Givewell supports. My college has a system for donating to charities and fundraising, so that isn't a problem.

The difficulty is getting other people interested in the club and teaching my club-members rationality, so the club continues existing after I graduate. I originally thought teaching people rationality wouldn't be necessary, but the couple friends I mentioned this to have no idea what I'm talking about when I explain how effective altruism works. They don't have the same intuitions that I do, so it sounds odd to them. It was around then I realized that I need my club-members to know some rationality. Are there any resources/guides out there for that kind of thing?

I know LessWrong is one of those resources, but I doubt many people will listen to me if I say "This week's club-homework is to read x post from this blog." I have a couple vague ideas for slipping this information into casual conversation, but they're vague ideas. And it's hard to impart enough information through casual conversation, anyway. I think I could try doing both (have people read specific articles/books and bring it up in casual conversation,) but that brings me back to the original problems: I have no idea how to teach rationality, and people don't respect me enough to listen to me if I tell them they need to know something.

I know some people here have experience in teaching rationality, so I'm fishing for any advice. My two major concerns are: -How to bridge the inference gap between myself and my club members (where do I even start?) and if there are any other ways to teach rationality beyond the two I mentioned.

Comment by michelle_z on On-line conference for LW readers and meet up members · 2013-07-07T23:59:01.408Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, since tinychat seems to work, just use that and instead of the study hall where we all do work, in this we'll chat about...? I guess whichever topics are picked for that session.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-07T17:15:42.775Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Not my intention. I was attempting to say "Don't condemn the work as irredeemably anti-feminist or whatever before it's even finished." I see how I could have been misunderstood, though.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T18:34:33.815Z · score: 2 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I think it would be prudent to wait until the story is completed to make those kinds of judgements. We simply do not know the intention yet.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T18:30:37.190Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

They're not old enough to be in Hogwarts yet.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T04:20:26.442Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume laughter is the appropriate reaction. It's a joke.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T03:44:06.454Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Somehow this troll succeeded in injuring a student, without alarm from the wards until the point of her death.

So someone tricked those wards, wards that were apparently working when Draco Malfoy was attacked. (Someone tricked them before, but that was by killing him so slowly the wards didn't notice, not by disabling them so no one noticed a student was in mortal peril.)

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T17:03:01.802Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Has anyone else noticed that Quirrell knew James Potter?

"James Potter," said Professor Quirrell, his eyes narrowing. "The boy is not much like James Potter.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T16:55:09.909Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Defense Professor had knocked upon the door to her office and then entered without waiting for her answer, and spoken before she could say a word. Part of Minerva wondered distantly whether Harry Potter had picked up that habit from his Defense Professor

Huh. Drawing connections between the two of them seems obvious, but then again, I might be reaching.

Comment by michelle_z on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-03T01:32:49.107Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good catch. That slipped my mind. :o

Though, apparently the castle will be "scarred"...?

Advice- Places to live

2012-06-19T23:44:48.513Z · score: 0 (3 votes)

Help please!

2012-06-06T15:51:15.873Z · score: 13 (20 votes)

Meetup : Philadelphia Meetup: Introduction to drawing

2012-04-29T16:44:11.947Z · score: 2 (3 votes)

The Future of Education

2012-02-14T20:58:06.904Z · score: 2 (26 votes)