Postdoc opening at U. of Washington in AI law and policy 2017-07-07T18:53:44.292Z
Today's xkcd is relevant to our interests 2011-01-05T06:07:33.581Z
LWers on 2010-10-24T07:29:34.119Z


Comment by mindspillage on How To Build A Community Full Of Lonely People · 2017-05-20T05:39:49.536Z · LW · GW

I am +1 on Step 1 being most important and most difficult here.

I would also say I am just okay at it, because connecting with other introverted people is difficult for me and I won't necessarily get far enough into conversation to find out about a lot of people's interests unless they have may in common with me or there's someone outgoing to carry the conversation. (There are many people more naturally inclined to be outgoing who could become amazing at connecting people if they realized that they have tons of this sort of knowledge that other people who are not like them don't obtain.)

But deliberately putting yourself in positions where you're going to learn a lot of things about people helps. Organizing groups, speaking about interesting topics, following everyone and their dog on social media, etc. And then being genuinely interested in them, enough that you remember things about them and they enjoy sharing things with you.

Comment by mindspillage on April 2017 Media Thread · 2017-04-10T16:09:20.789Z · LW · GW

"All This Time", by Jonathan Coulton. Video for the first song from his new future-themed album, placed in this category because the text-adventure video adds to the story. (Song name-checks Kurzweil and is about our future robot overlords.)

Comment by mindspillage on Project Hufflepuff: Planting the Flag · 2017-04-02T06:00:51.979Z · LW · GW

Some of this reminds me of a talk by Sumana Harihareswara, a friend of mine in the free software community, where she tries to exmaine which strange and offputting things are necessary and which are needlessly driving people away: Inessential Weirdnesses in Free Software

I think there are in fact a lot of parallels between issues in free software and the rationalist community--similarly devaluing Hufflepuff skills even when they're necessary to get the full value out of everyone's contributions, similarly having concerns about not watering down the core philosophical commitments while still being open to newcomers and people who are not yet committed to the entire culture.

(FWIW, I am a weakly-connected member of the Bay Area rationalist community--it's not what I think of as my primary community so I'm not particularly present.)

Comment by mindspillage on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-18T03:10:26.489Z · LW · GW

This would probably have to be less expensive long-term and at least as convenient as my current living situation (apartment in the south bay) for my partner and I to be interested, but it is something I think we would consider. (I would be more interested in the social group aspect, and he would want low social obligation but would be interested in resource-sharing. I have not yet actually asked him about this post.) In particular, there are plenty of things that are reasonable and useful if shared in small groups (tools, recreation equipment, etc.) but a bit silly for personal use and difficult to share with strangers. I am not interested enough to do the heavy lifting of initial organizing.

(I do like the idea of having neighbors pre-selected to be inclined to be "neighborly"--I am happy to watch a child/water plants/play in your garage band/copyedit your report if you will do similar things when I need it. I know little enough about most of my current physical neighbors that we don't know what we can ask of each other.)

Comment by mindspillage on How often do you check this forum? · 2017-02-07T06:09:13.808Z · LW · GW

Took the poll.

Comment by mindspillage on Open thread, Jan. 23 - Jan. 29, 2017 · 2017-01-26T02:54:06.825Z · LW · GW

In general, don't optimize for uniqueness or quirkiness; you have limited space and your potential workplace is probably using the resume to screen for "does this person meet enough of the basic desired qualities that we should find out more about them with an interview". You can add a few small things if they really set you apart, but don't go out of your way to do it. A better opportunity to do this is in your cover letter.

The best reference for workplace norms and job-hunting advice that I know is Ask A Manager; you may want to browse her archives.

Comment by mindspillage on A quick note on weirdness points and Solstices [And also random other Solstice discussion] · 2016-12-23T06:48:35.019Z · LW · GW

The recent East Bay solstice was my first one. (I'm not usually enthusiastic about rituals or very large social events where I don't know many people--but I do enjoy singing with friendly people, so I came as part of the choir.)

I was pleasantly surprised by how not odd it was. It felt quite a lot like other ritual-type events I've gone to--church services, memorial events, formulaic holiday celebrations, etc.: much reinforcing of common themes for the group and reference to shared values and oft-repeated material. It was not as in-groupy as I expected--I could have imagined taking a friend who was not part of the community and not needing to explain much about it; it was mostly appealing to the broadest part of the community rather than deep insider references. (And here I realize I still count myself as in the community even though my recent involvement is mostly passive!)

I also appreciated the group activity of writing down meaningful encouragements and posting them on the wall: it gave a sense of who was in the room and the chance to show the best parts of themselves--and something easily visible to make conversation with strangers about during breaks. It did remind me of the sort of activity you might do at a company retreat, but the better kind! I wouldn't mind seeing that repeated.

Comment by mindspillage on Open thread, Dec. 15 - Dec. 21, 2014 · 2014-12-20T08:53:35.739Z · LW · GW

I wouldn't make a restricted donation to a charity unless there was a cause I really cared about but I didn't think the charity behind it was well-run and I didn't know a better way of helping that cause.

I do not consider money to keep a good charity running as "wasted"--if anything I am deeply dubious of any charity which claims to have minimal to no administration costs, because it's either untrue (the resources to manage it effectively must come from somewhere, maybe from the founders' own personal resources) or a likely sign of bad management (they think that skimping on the funds needed to manage it effectively in the name of maximizing the basket of "program expenses" is a good organizational strategy). An organization that I think is well-run wants to spend on its cause as much as possible, but is mindful of needing to spend on itself also. If it cannot spend on itself--to hire good staff, to have good training, to use resources that cost money and save time, to plan its strategy and maintain regulatory compliance, to do whatever else an efficient organization needs to do--how can it possibly have the capacity to spend well on its programs? The money to sustain that charity is providing for its cause to be effectively addressed now and into the future.

"Unrestricted" says that you believe GiveWell is competent to make these allocations correctly between itself and its recommended charities. For GiveWell in particular, if you do not believe they can do this, why do you think they can evaluate other charities' effectiveness? Presumably you want to give to the other charities because GiveWell has told you they are worth it, because you think GiveWell is competent at assessing organizational effectiveness. (For other charities, I would have lower expectations for assessment ability--but still I expect that I want to give to one in particular because it is effective at spending for its cause. There are few causes where you do not have much choice of how to direct your money to affect it. An effective one will be competent at running itself--not perfect surely, but competent enough that I don't think I will do a better job at allocating its funds than it will by giving a restricted donation.)

Also, many people's gut feelings direct them to give restricted donations to avoid "wasting" their money; it's a feel-good option but one that does not help the charity stay around in the long term. People who are more considered should compensate for that by allowing the charity to use their funds unrestricted. I have no idea if GiveWell gets grants or not, but grant support from foundations is often restricted as well; it's much harder to get grants for general operating support. But I won't start that rant here.

(For background, I've been heavily involved in nonprofits for the past 10 years, as volunteer, staff, and board.)

Comment by mindspillage on Musings on the LSAT: "Reasoning Training" and Neuroplasticity · 2014-12-13T08:44:25.787Z · LW · GW

Also, logical reasoning of the type on the test hardly showed up at all in law school--most of the reasoning required was not very complicated, so most reasonably intelligent college graduates would already be able to do it.. (Some more complicated logic showed up in Conflicts of Laws, also.)

Comment by mindspillage on Musings on the LSAT: "Reasoning Training" and Neuroplasticity · 2014-12-13T08:41:12.197Z · LW · GW

1) I took it, but I didn't do much studying for it. (Basically, I signed up for it at nearly the very last moment after I saw someone mention that all it took to get into law school was a good LSAT--I had been pursuing a different career and had not previously thought of going to law school, but I had started doing legal-related work in a volunteer gig.) Maybe a week before the exam I went to the library and checked out a prep book. And the logic games section was already something I basically knew, so what I did spend time on was careful reading of the critical reading sections; I tend not to read carefully and miss instructions, and I wanted to learn the kinds of tricks they were likely to use to get me to do just that.

2 and 3) No; I used the logical reasoning skills I had already from studying math. (Also, from having taken every vaguely logic-related course at my undergrad.) Those were long-lasting. But I enjoyed math because many of those skills were already natural to me. I learned refinements and additional techniques and became better at it, but I was already inclined to thinking that way and enjoyed it.

As a lawyer now, one of my major strengths lies in analytical reasoning--I like to consider situations and take apart the possible situations that may arise, what happens if they're taken to their logical conclusions, where contradictions might arise from sets of terms, what logical inconsistencies exist in a proposal. (The biggest and most enjoyable project I've worked on has been license drafting.)

Comment by mindspillage on Stupid Questions December 2014 · 2014-12-13T08:11:33.157Z · LW · GW

It builds substance - citation neded. It seems like it could just as easily build insecurity, resentment, etc.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that I know a lot more than any of my peers (I'm 16), and practically all of that is due to the reading I did and am still doing. That reading was a direct result of my isolation and would likely not have occurred had I been more socially accepted. I should add that I have never once felt resentment or insecurity due to this, though I have developed a slight sense of superiority. (That last part is something I am working to fix.)

Reading a ton as a teen was very helpful to me also, but I think I would have still done it if I had a rich social life of people who were also smart and enjoyed reading. Ultimately being around peers who challenge me is more motivating than being isolated; I don't want to be the one dragging behind.

I do feel that I had to learn a fair amount of basic social skills through deliberately watching and taking apart, rather than just learning through doing--making me somewhat the social equivalent of someone who has learned a foreign language through study rather than by growing up a native speaker; I have the pattern of strengths and weaknesses associated with the different approach.

Comment by mindspillage on Harper's Magazine article on LW/MIRI/CFAR and Ethereum · 2014-12-13T07:57:35.185Z · LW · GW

I am far more lax than most people I know also--when I was growing up there were leftovers, but we couldn't afford to waste them unless they were really not good; I was still broke in college and would not turn my nose up at things other people were wary of. I have never been completely stupid about it, but I am not terribly afraid of food poisoning either, mostly because it barely registers on the list of risky activities I should worry about. (For comparison, I am convinced that my lack of driving skill would seriously injure myself or others, and so I don't drive, which apparently makes me weird.)

I have had food poisoning a handful of times--but mostly under conditions that even conscientiously hygienic people would consider fine... and once from dubious food while traveling, because really if you do not eat the street food you are wasting your airfare.

(gwillen, I swear I am not deliberately following you around!)

Comment by mindspillage on March 2014 Media Thread · 2014-03-03T01:38:27.095Z · LW · GW

I recommended it, and I am glad for your report! FWIW, I liked it more than Gravity, in part because it was less emotionally affecting.

Comment by mindspillage on February 2014 Media Thread · 2014-02-16T21:56:07.187Z · LW · GW

The Martian, by Andy Weir. This was first published chapter-by-chapter on his website and was taken down when he got picked up by a publisher. (I found this out by going to link it on an earlier thread and realizing it wasn't there anymore...)

It is serious, well-researched hard sci-fi: astronaut goes on a Mars mission, basically everything goes wrong, he has to do something with the resources available. (Opening lines: "I'm pretty much fucked. That's my considered opinion. Fucked.")

Comment by mindspillage on Mental Subvocalization --"Saying" Words In Your Mind As You Read · 2014-02-16T21:41:56.870Z · LW · GW

Same here, with writing: it generally feels like transcribing an internal monologue.

Comment by mindspillage on Mental Subvocalization --"Saying" Words In Your Mind As You Read · 2014-02-16T21:41:07.853Z · LW · GW

I suspect this is true for me also, but of course I can't quite manage to observe it...

Comment by mindspillage on December Monthly Bragging Thread · 2013-12-06T20:54:39.438Z · LW · GW

Yes, well, I said I was smart enough to leave the Committee, not that I was smart enough to turn down other jobs. :-)

Comment by mindspillage on December Monthly Bragging Thread · 2013-12-06T06:22:46.748Z · LW · GW

I co-drafted the new version of the Creative Commons licenses which has been released at long, long last.

I've taken up gymnastics classes after a break of about 20 years. Have managed to get a back walkover without killing myself. (Still working on the back handspring I was terrible at as a child.)

Comment by mindspillage on December 2013 Media Thread · 2013-12-06T06:21:38.277Z · LW · GW

Ólafur Arnalds--contemporary classical, mostly strings+piano+electronics. Try the Living Room Songs for something spare and minimally-produced (I like "Film Credits"), and "3055" which starts slowly and builds eventually to a more powerful climax.

Max Richter--contemporary classical, strings-heavy, melancholy. Try "On The Nature Of Daylight" first.

Loquat--lyrics-heavy melodic San Francisco pop. Lots of rationalist-friendly lyrics, including "Comedown's Worse" and "Harder Hit"; "Time Bending" is genuinely geeky.

Comment by mindspillage on December Monthly Bragging Thread · 2013-12-06T05:24:42.948Z · LW · GW

I am laughing at this being in the brag thread when I might brag about being smart enough never to run for the committee again, and looking forward to meeting you in person--I turn up at the WMF office on my work from home days.

Comment by mindspillage on Joy in the Merely Real · 2013-11-07T23:46:05.734Z · LW · GW

Relevant comic:

Comment by mindspillage on The 50 Shades of Grey Book Club · 2013-09-09T15:01:48.406Z · LW · GW

I have a friend who has done this with professional sports.

Comment by mindspillage on Useful Habits Repository · 2013-09-09T07:39:53.428Z · LW · GW

My keys are attached to my wallet; I can't forget one without forgetting both. I am terrifically absent-minded but haven't left without them since I started doing this.

Comment by mindspillage on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2013-07-04T04:19:56.629Z · LW · GW

Tangentially: that is in fact my wet-type earwax illustrating the Wikipedia article. (Picture taken by my partner. No terrible story.)

Comment by mindspillage on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-07-04T04:09:08.084Z · LW · GW

I like this, and also "I don't quite understand why [X]", which puts them in the pleasant position of explaining to me from a position of superiority--or sometimes realizing that they can't.

Comment by mindspillage on Open Thread, December 16-31, 2012 · 2012-12-29T05:30:19.613Z · LW · GW

The vast majority of activity on Wikipedia is nice and friendly. But some of that minority, well...

(More in high-conflict areas than elsewhere, yes, but crazy people are everywhere. Articles get written on obscure subjects because no matter what the topic is, someone is obsessive about it. But people go crazy about unexpected topics, because no matter what the topic is, someone is obsessive about it...)

Comment by mindspillage on Licensing discussion for LessWrong Posts · 2012-12-26T03:28:12.389Z · LW · GW

David is correct about the way the copyleft works, which almost no one ever is: your content never "becomes" copylefted just because you build upon a copylefted work; you must either explicitly license it under a compatible license, be using the original work in a way that doesn't require a license (fair use, de minimis, etc.), or you are infringing.

Just to go into slightly more technicalities: if CAR doesn't take copyrightable expression from CAH, you can license original work in the new game under a different license; the share-alike requirement doesn't get triggered if what you got from the original wasn't something that would have been protected under the original license.

What counts as taking copyrightable expression can be pretty fuzzy, though. I haven't compared the two games--just clarifying the requirement. And practically, it's advisable to use the BY-NC-SA license from CAH if you're at all unsure.

Comment by mindspillage on Licensing discussion for LessWrong Posts · 2012-12-26T03:12:58.710Z · LW · GW

What David said. If you hit one of his hot buttons, he will get worked up about it until you come around (using the term "intellectual property", for example). But in general he's forward-thinking and holds positions that he's come to after a long time considering their implications and how they fit into his goals--I think very hard before disagreeing with him. (Even if he is lacking in social graces.)

Comment by mindspillage on How To Have Things Correctly · 2012-10-23T03:23:03.748Z · LW · GW

I can't keep track of my keys, and I don't drive. (No car keys, but housekey/mailbox key/office key all fairly important.) So I attached my keychain to the zipper on my wallet, because I basically can't go anywhere without my wallet. Astonishingly, I have not misplaced my keys or my wallet since doing this.

Comment by mindspillage on Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations · 2012-08-01T00:29:25.531Z · LW · GW

Thank you. I bookmarked this after this thread and just found occasion to use it (successfully); I was more inclined to try it on the recommendation of someone here.

Comment by mindspillage on Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations · 2012-07-05T13:50:54.304Z · LW · GW

UnderArmour ColdGear Frosty: I hate being cold--these made it tolerable to go out biking in cold weather, and I also found myself wearing them as leggings under regular skirts when I was tired of a winter full of pants.

Comment by mindspillage on Rationality Quotes July 2012 · 2012-07-04T06:08:12.319Z · LW · GW

The words "I am..." are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to. The thing you're claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you.

--A.L. Kitselman

Comment by mindspillage on CFAR website launched · 2012-07-04T02:36:14.539Z · LW · GW

Residential seminar?

Comment by mindspillage on Rationality Quotes July 2012 · 2012-07-04T01:18:02.298Z · LW · GW

Reminds me of advice to people who want to know if they can sue someone: You can always sue. You just can't always expect to win.

Comment by mindspillage on Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations · 2012-07-02T18:27:05.698Z · LW · GW

In most places I think it's unnecessarily costly for the small added value. But in SF, I'm really not sure how else you're supposed to get a cab without budgeting a half-hour on top of your travel time to flag one down.

Comment by mindspillage on [deleted post] 2012-07-01T18:43:29.483Z

I'm not applying for this because I'm not quite in the right circumstances for it--but I'm female and moving to the peninsula in mid-August for work, and would be interested in being part of social events. (I've been to 2 or 3 Berkeley meetups in the past when on other trips in fact.)

Comment by mindspillage on Rationality Quotes May 2012 · 2012-05-14T14:19:05.214Z · LW · GW

"In war you will generally find that the enemy has at any time three courses of action open to him. Of those three, he will invariably choose the fourth." —Helmuth Von Moltke

(quoted in "Capturing the Potential of Outlier Ideas in the Intelligence Community", via Bruce Schneier)

Comment by mindspillage on Acausal romance · 2012-02-26T05:05:04.141Z · LW · GW

This has just beat out Alan Sidelle's "The Answering Machine Paradox" (paywalled, sorry) as my favorite philosophical paper.

Comment by mindspillage on Help! Name suggestions needed for Rationality-Inst! · 2012-01-30T01:44:12.331Z · LW · GW

I don't like it much--it brings up mental images that you're going be there with a bunch of people who treat it as a game, rather than a serious endeavor (something that suggests it might be fun is fine, but not something that suggests it is not serious). And maybe that it will be mostly intended for the video game demographic of socially awkward college-aged men.

Comment by mindspillage on Shit Rationalists Say? · 2012-01-26T02:12:20.435Z · LW · GW

One huge category of utterances remains unrepresented:

"Ooh, is there a new Methods of Rationality chapter up yet?"

"I can't believe there's no new chapter yet."

"Have you read Methods of Rationality? You have to read it, OMG."

Comment by mindspillage on The MIT Mystery Hunt and the Illusion of Transparency · 2012-01-20T04:24:55.824Z · LW · GW

Hm, I never realized you were here too!

Comment by mindspillage on Non-theist cinema? · 2012-01-10T18:37:31.914Z · LW · GW

Agora drove me crazy because it could have been good and was so terribly inaccurate.

Comment by mindspillage on Smart and under 20? Peter Thiel wants to pay you to not go to school. · 2012-01-02T21:41:15.064Z · LW · GW

Assuming this is a serious question: the Thiel Foundation may be an employer, but it's the other side you want to look at--fellows are not technically employees.

Comment by mindspillage on Is anyone else worried about SOPA? Trying to do anything about it? · 2011-12-20T22:55:02.816Z · LW · GW

Blacking out Wikipedia is still as serious a possibility as it ever was--but it would be ridiculous to do it when the timing doesn't make sense and waste the possibility for impact.

Comment by mindspillage on More "Personal" Introductions · 2011-12-05T06:07:02.878Z · LW · GW

It is likely that I have watched, and attempted to learn from, one of your hooping tutorials! (I don't know your account name. But I have watched a lot of them while trying to find people who explain things in a way I understand.)

Comment by mindspillage on 2011 Survey Results · 2011-12-04T21:59:12.749Z · LW · GW

Are there any significant differences in gender or age (or anything else notable) between the group who chose to keep their responses private and the rest of the respondents?

Comment by mindspillage on How did you come to find LessWrong? · 2011-11-21T19:45:59.645Z · LW · GW

Heard of Overcoming Bias through the Extropy Institute discussion list, which I've been lurking on for a billion years. (Or a dozen. One of those.)

The main way people in my social circle who were not familiar with LW have become interested in the site is through getting links to specific essays that were of particular interest to them, or of interest to people involved in whichever activity we have in common. (I don't know how many of the HPMoR readers have converted to LW readers, though at least a few.) Just saying "there's this site about rationality and cognitive biases" will get a "yeah, that's cool, whatever" unless the post on the front page is unusually compelling.

Comment by mindspillage on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey · 2011-11-11T23:45:59.265Z · LW · GW

There are people in law who are making awesome things happen, but they are not getting paid anywhere close to as much for it as the ones who are doing standard things for deep-pocketed clients.

Comment by mindspillage on Q&A with new Executive Director of Singularity Institute · 2011-11-09T04:44:30.086Z · LW · GW

That's what you consider "easily derived"?

Comment by mindspillage on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey · 2011-11-03T05:14:14.024Z · LW · GW

I don't feel like it's embarrassing to know it--why embarrassed? (I remember first learning mine by overhearing my parents talking about it.) It might be embarrassing if you put too much weight on it over practical ability, or if you waved it around as a substitute for convincing argument. But I don't see too much cause for embarrassment in simply knowing it.