Comment by Mqrius on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-12-05T08:05:15.565Z · LW · GW

Does that take into account, for example, Arbital seeming less promising to people / getting less engagement, because all the users have just sunk energy into trying to get by on a revived LW?

There's an intuition pump I could make that I haven't fully fleshed out yet, that goes something like, If both Arbital and Lesswrong get worked on, then whichever seems more promising or better to use will gain more traction and end out on top in a very natural way, without having to go through an explicit failure of the other one.

There's caveats/responses to that as well of course — it just doesn't seem 100% clear cut to me.

Comment by Mqrius on CFAR’s new focus, and AI Safety · 2016-12-05T05:46:41.654Z · LW · GW

Brainstormy words in that corner of concept-space:

  • Raising the sanity waterline
  • Downstream effects
  • Giving someone a footstool so that they can see for themselves, instead of you telling them what's on the other side of the wall
  • C̶r̶i̶t̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ ̶m̶a̶s̶s h̶i̶v̶e̶m̶i̶n̶d Compounding thinktank intelligence
  • Doing thinks better

[switches framing]
Signal boosting means sending more signal so that you it arrives better on the other side. There's more ways of doing so though;

  • Noise reduction
  • (The entire big field of) error correction methods
  • Specifying the signal's constraints clearly so that the other side can run a fit to it
  • Stop sending the signal and instead build the generator on the other side
Comment by Mqrius on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity · 2014-03-03T12:52:37.233Z · LW · GW

The maximum total energy from PUFA has been a discussion point with DIY Soylent makers as well. The final consensus was that it should definitely be below 10%, and possibly below 4%. The 4% figure comes from The perfect health diet, which uses this as a source:

Angela Liou Y, Innis SM. Dietary linoleic acid has no effect on arachidonic acid, but increases n-6 eicosadienoic acid, and lowers dihomo-gamma-linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acid in plasma of adult men. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 2009 Apr;80(4):201–6,

I've also got a copy hosted at but only download that if your university or company legally gives you access to Elsevier content.

For the discussion and links to other relevant papers, see and further posts

For my Soylent, I ended up getting most fats from macadamia oil (mostly Omega-9 aka MUFA) and MCT oil (Medium-chain saturated fat), since they don't have any negative effects associated with them. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Comment by Mqrius on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity · 2014-03-03T12:35:52.704Z · LW · GW

My university has access to the paper. I've got it hosted on my server, but you're only allowed to download it if you have legal access through your university as well. If you have legal access, feel free to click this link:

Comment by Mqrius on Meetup : Utrecht · 2013-12-12T18:09:43.487Z · LW · GW

Haha, bluf! (Or in English: I dare you!)

Comment by Mqrius on Meetup : Utrecht · 2013-12-08T11:55:53.754Z · LW · GW

Dang, another one that doesn't sit well with my planning. I'll attend at some point, really!

Comment by Mqrius on Meetup : First Meetup in Cologne (Köln) · 2013-11-06T09:54:35.214Z · LW · GW

Now that the scheduling issues are out of the way;

Coming Sunday, we'll have wallowinmaya, EGI and girlfriend, SimonF, Falstofe, and my girlfriend and me, if I'm not mistaken. That would be a nice turnout!

Comment by Mqrius on Meetup : First Meetup in Cologne (Köln) · 2013-10-15T11:46:28.170Z · LW · GW

Me and my girlfriend will most likely be there! We've been thinking of starting something ourselves :)

Comment by Mqrius on Effective Altruist Job Board? · 2013-08-31T16:30:48.068Z · LW · GW

My current effective altruism strategy is:

  • Make a lot of money
  • Give it away

Pretty straightforward, but it means I don't need to have a job specifically related to effective altruism.

The question might be if you're more useful by making money and giving that away, or by working directly with the cause or meta-cause you support. I think for me it's the former.

Comment by Mqrius on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-21T10:50:10.098Z · LW · GW

To get a permanent URL, the workaround was that you could schedule a hangout very far in the future. Are you saying that you can't run a specified application on that?

Comment by Mqrius on The benefits of madness: A positive account of arationality · 2013-07-03T14:55:10.990Z · LW · GW

Besides being very interesting in the topics covered, this post has shifted my inclination to try drugs (to the trying drugs side).

Up to now, I didn't feel like trying anything serious. I saw no clear benefit, and I was afraid that it would mess with my core reasoning. I depend on my "reasoning core" to operate in stressful, inebriated, or otherwise compromised situations. Messing with that seemed like a Bad Idea.

Thinking about it now, though, I recognize that my core reasoning is not an isolated crystal anyway, being influenced by emotions and subconscious thoughts, resulting in things like procrastination. I think pushing this a little further and learning to deal with it might potentially actually help dealing with normal situations.

I'm still wary of messing something up, and I'll still be careful. But at least I've started considering it now.

I hope you manage to write the proposed sequence(s) at some point!

Comment by Mqrius on Let There Be Light · 2013-05-25T19:42:34.788Z · LW · GW

Do you still hold these ideas? Have you managed to work them out in detail in the meantime?

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-17T22:04:56.320Z · LW · GW

For the record: A number of programmers have applied and, as far as I know, will be discussing with Shannon and beeminder people to discuss actually programming the required parts.

I, meanwhile, am just hobbying a bit to see if OpenMeetings can be turned into something useful. But indeed, I'm often in the room when I do that :)

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-16T21:37:50.865Z · LW · GW

Login form: Gutted
Video resolution: Capped
Chat area height: Increased

Webcam selection: Eh. The devs changed it, it's a bit better, but not quite there yet. Maybe they'll work on it more after the weekend. Edit: It's fixed! :)
Chat notifications: Haven't looked into it yet. Edit: Have looked into it, but haven't figured it out yet.

I'll have it running most of the time. Feel free to look around!

For the programmers, patches are available here:

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-15T21:54:19.527Z · LW · GW

Since I fixed this, it seems OpenMeetings is stable. It has been running for at least 10 hours, with at some point 8 people in there, all streaming video. There have been a few notes in the chat which I'll address publically:

I'm not sure if it's a good idea to redirect people here if tinychat is still better until this gets done correctly

Agreed. The redirection today was only for stresstesting it. If it's not stable, putting further effort in it is useless. It turns out it's stable though, so I'll hack some more at it, and see what I can make of it.

is there a way to make the chat part larger?
bah, this chat window should be nr1 priority to fix

I'll have to edit the source code for it. I haven't been in the source code so far. Difficulty: Easy

I signed up with a username. Why is it not displayed?

It uses the First & Last name as display names. I intend to gut the entire registration form to just ask for username & password, and use the username as a display name. Difficulty: Easy

hm I dont think I can make public rooms

Indeed, only the admin can. However, you can make personal rooms, and then give someone else an invitation link. I can make a few more public rooms, if there's demand for that?

I don't like that the no [chat] notifications part, though

Agreed. I don't know if it's supported. If it's not, I, or the devs, will need to add it. Don't know how difficult that will be.

it is making my computer work a lot harder [compared to tinychat] though

I don't know if that's because there was an unusually large amount of people there, or because the video quality is higher than tinychat. I can put a limit on the video resolution you can select, if people want that. Difficulty: Easy

Confusing webcam selection screen

I mentioned that to the devs 2 days ago, they fixed it the same day, and put out a new release candidate. However, running it, it doesn’t work for me. I’ve just notified them, I expect this to be fixed soon.

Right now, the user experience delta to tinychat is: Login form. Manual resizing of every single video required. Loads of buttons and options to get lost in.
The barrier to entry is much higher than tinychat.

Login form will be gutted, I'll cap video resolution, and the webcam selection will be simpler. That should get the barrier to entry on a similar level as tinychat, while retaining the potential of multiple public rooms and such.

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-15T13:45:30.432Z · LW · GW

It's working quite well. It's been going all morning without any issues.

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-15T10:15:58.808Z · LW · GW

We tried out mqrius' server and encountered a few difficulties, but I have no idea what was causing them, so it could just be that OM is a bit shaky.

I poked around a bit more.
Basically, I got "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen space", so I figured it was a lack of allocated memory and increased the allocated heap space (Xmx and Xms). However, I did some further googling, and apparently the PermGen space is separate from the heap space. If it goes out of memory, it might be caused by either a normal process, or by a memory leak. It might be solved by having java unload its classes. I'm running it with the following flags at the moment:

-Xmx1024m -Xms128m -Xmn512m -Xss512k -XX:+CMSClassUnloadingEnabled -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC -XX:MaxPermSize=128m

Since I now applied a fix that might be specific to the problem, it warrants giving it another test.

But honestly, ideally, I should not be the one to test OpenMeetings: I don't have enough knowledge to judge if I'm doing things wrong or if OpenMeetings is. The "fixes" I try are just suggested by random googling, not by careful consideration.

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-14T11:29:01.539Z · LW · GW

Maybe a common room where people can initially talk about what they intend to work on. (Eliezer says: This needs either strong group norms or built-in limits on talk time to avoid becoming a social chat timesink.)

I discussed this a bit with tsakinis, and I think that we can indeed create group norms that do the following:

  • Suggest people that are having a (long) discussion to do so in a private room
  • Welcome new people, find out what they're working on, and then go off together to do a pomodoro in one of the study rooms

This will mean that someone who joins "just to have a look" will be positively welcomed, and get his first taste of the social work encouragement. The alternative, no lobby room, means that a new person will have to choose between arbitrary study rooms, then "drop in" on people that are working. For someone who's unsure about the entire thing, this doesn't help at all.

Comment by Mqrius on Programming the LW Study Hall · 2013-03-14T11:23:56.941Z · LW · GW

For programmers who are curious about OpenMeeting, I've set up a mockup server on my PC. It's is not entirely stock install, I've changed a few configurations to make it more like what we want. No source code changing yet though. You can have a look at it here:
Go there, wait for a few seconds for it to load, make an account (no verification or anything required), and then you can join the public room. You'll get a popup for video settings: it shows a black screen initially, even though your cam does work when you hit "Start recording test". I've notified the devs that this is very non-intuitive, and they'll be changing it.
Instead of joining the public room, you also have the option to make personal rooms, and invite people in with a link.

My impression about OpenMeetings:

  • Open source
  • Very customizable, because it's open source
  • Doesn't require a google account
  • It's in active development, with an active mailing list on which people reply quickly
  • Easy to limit rooms, get a room overview, and create new rooms


  • I find the documentation not very intuitive
  • It needs a server to run on
  • Screensharing is a bit clunky: You can't really use it instead of your webcam, as in google hangout. Should be fine for 1-on-1 video chats though.

Compared to Google hangouts:

  • Easy to set up
  • Doesn't need a server
  • Supports screensharing
  • Somewhat customizable: It supports widgets, but I'm not sure to what degree the layout is editable.


  • Needs a google account
  • Permanent rooms are a bit of a hack (by creating an event far in the future)

Neither is a clear winner. I'll personally be looking at if it's easy to change the layout on OpenMeetings. If that's doable, then it's already at or beyond the "baseline" level we have with Tinychat.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-12T23:10:11.790Z · LW · GW

Screensharing is indeed very effective in a 1-on-1 session, but I think the webcam view is quite valuable for different reasons: It provides the sense of actual people whom you're working with on the other side. Part of the reason why the study room works is because of the community feeling you get. When the community starts a pomodoro, you join.

Of course, google hangouts support switching between screensharing and webcam on the fly, so this isn't an argument against hangouts: I just wanted to mention the value of the webcams.


I'm trying to imagine screen sharing in a study room now, with for example 6 people. I think it's possible that a shared screen can be distracting to some -- much more so than having a webcam. This, too, was mentioned in the relevant post:

I had to set a timer (for between 5 and 11 minutes depending on circumstances) to remind me to check Vladimir's screen (resetting the timer manually after every check). If I did not, I either spent too much time looking at his screen or let him go too long without monitoring.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-11T15:38:19.122Z · LW · GW

If people can turn off sounds and notifications, we probably don't have to worry about bothering others by chatting outside of a break.

I would think so too, but at least 1 person has requested chats that chats be at a minimum, even if he turned off the sound and notifications.

Besides that, a lobby has the advantage that you can hang out without working. Here's the failure mode I'm anticipating and trying to avoid: Let's say this becomes big, and there's plenty of people in the study room. Some will just hang out, and not specifically be working at that time. This creates an environment in which it feels "okay" to just hang out and not work when you're there.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-10T23:35:48.469Z · LW · GW

I valued the bit of chatting we did a lot. It creates a community feeling , and helps with actually getting me to work :)

But indeed, some people are distracted by the chatting. Having a "lobby" would work. Then the study room could be quiet most of the time, except when the joint hour-synced Pomodoro finishes. If you want to hang out but aren't working, you remove yourself from the study room.
These would be simple but effective guidelines, I think.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-10T17:56:06.217Z · LW · GW

It was my understanding that Main is intended for polished final products, and that drafts, polls, and, well, discussions, belong to Discussion.

That's a reasonable distinction. But imagine this: A post which is a central place for organizing working together. Such a post is a very valuable final product in instrumental rationality, but it will inherently have continuous activity and discussion.

This post is not fully polished yet, but it's the best one we have of the sort, and having it as a main post right now increases the chances of this becoming the polished gem we'd like it to be.

I agree with you that if this post "dies out" then it could be replaced by a better version.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-10T09:44:36.999Z · LW · GW

I disagree. Instrumental rationality is at least as important as epistemic rationality, akrasia is both one of the largest blocks and one of the most common blocks in daily life, and the survey has shown that co-working is the best tool we have to combat akrasia. Assuming we can make this the nexus of co-working efforts, its place in Main is justified.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-10T09:25:34.673Z · LW · GW

I believe this is the research you mention? Effort for payment: a tale of two markets

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-09T08:29:25.429Z · LW · GW

Alright, so there seems to be enthusiasm for this. The next step is figuring out the practical details.

How do we create a group study room? The first things that come to mind are a Skype group chat, Google hangouts, and the newly developed browser-to-browser video chat. The latter seems undersupported to me, although I haven't researched it specifically. Skype group chats require at least 1 person to have a premium account, and I'm not sure if you can make a permanent "room".

That leaves Google hangouts. Some searching shows that it used to be possible to make a permanent hangout link, but this function was removed. On that same page, Dori, Google Community Manager, offers a workaround. If you create an event years in the future, the hangout link won't change.

To create a lasting link, go to and look down at Schedule your next hangout. The Hangout link in the created event (under the date/time) is persistent.

This seems like a reasonable solution. Are there any other video group chat options, beside the 3 I mentioned?
Edit: tsakinis has a fourth option, and immediately put it to use: Tinychat.

Should we have a schedule or planning facility, to bridge the time until we get 85 members?
Edit: Shannon suggests that this thread can be used for discussing strategies and experiments.

Comment by Mqrius on Optimizing Sleep · 2013-03-09T07:17:05.385Z · LW · GW

My sleep schedule tended to drift further into the night as well. I installed f.lux s little over a week ago, and just realized a day ago that I find myself going to bed around midnight consistently! The amount of sleep has also decreased, to about 7.5 hours. sleep quality seems similar. (I'm using ElectricSleep for tracking movement)

Capitalizing on this, I've ordered orange-tinted blue-blocking glasses, and have attempted to find something like f.lux for Android. There are custom ROMs that can do it, and there's apps like Lux that only change brightness. Supposedly you can use Chainfire3D + Chainfire3D Pro + CF.Lumen, although I think that modifies your ROM.

I'm using EasyEyez right now, which can put an ugly red overlay over the screen. I don't know how effective it is, but at least you'll need to reduce blue to go from a white colour to a red colour.

YMMV, my girlfriend didn't notice any change since using f.lux.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-07T15:36:38.853Z · LW · GW

It's an interesting idea, for sure.

For me, though, I really need the coordination part. A global study room where you can come and go wouldn't work as well for me: it lacks the precommitment I get from agreeing with an individual to work alongside eachother at a specific time and date. I can make the agreement in far mode, and then near mode sticks to it, only if I made the agreement with someone else than myself.

Another thing that popped into my mind when reading this is that you're trying to create a large joint effort, where everyone involved tends to procrastinate. That might be difficult.

I could imagine a different form of group arising if two individuals start out together, and then add a third at the same time and date, and if that works, keep adding people slowly. This would only work on skype if one person has a paid account, but I guess google hangouts could work.

Edit: An ongoing non-work-intended rationalist hangout would be quite interesting. It might have the same time-sapping risk as #lesswrong on IRC though.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-07T11:08:16.715Z · LW · GW

I think money might complicate things: You might want to get paid more for stuff you don't find that interesting. With trading just time, it feels different. You'd just give the other person X hours of your time, and you get X hours back. It doesn't matter to you what you do in the X hours you gave away. Perhaps getting money for it also makes it seem like work, instead of a fun, social thing. Then again, maybe it's a distinction that's only in my head, so if you can make it work, sure, go for it!

Buying food indeed seems less formal.

Comment by Mqrius on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-03-06T19:06:59.886Z · LW · GW

Here’s a slightly different idea I’ve been toying with: Trading time

The gist of it is this: You make a plan to get together with a friend, and agree to work for 3 hours on whatever project he wants.You also plan a later date and time at which he comes to you and you work together on anything you want. This could be a hobby project, a difficult study topic you can’t quite grasp, or something simple like painting a wall.

The idea is that nearly everything is easier if you do it with someone else, especially for people that tend to procrastinate. Some things are even more efficient per person, such as pair programming. But even if it’s not, doing something non-efficiently is still better than not doing it at all, and usually more fun with someone else. The way I think of it, this is an opportunity to get those things done you’ve been wanting to do all this time, but never get around to.

Ironically, I’ve been meaning to try this out, but haven’t gotten around to it yet :x

Obviously this doesn’t work for everything: it’s hard to do for writing a thesis for example, but plenty of things can be made to work with some creativity, especially if your partner is there in real life. It’s a different concept than what’s expressed in the blog post, which is more like working at the same time instead of working together on the same thing. I’m currently mainly interested in the former, although I wanted to share this idea here since the topics are similar.

Feel free to contact me to get to know eachother! My email is, and my skype id is m.qrius.

Comment by Mqrius on Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence · 2013-02-07T15:56:48.982Z · LW · GW

... he shouted down, soaring through the sky.

Comment by Mqrius on My Algorithm for Beating Procrastination · 2013-02-01T03:42:21.687Z · LW · GW

Now I can see if a strategy makes a difference and whether I can maintain it for long term.

It's been nearly a year since this post. I'm curious what your results are, if any.

Comment by Mqrius on Cards Against Rationality · 2013-01-31T19:30:22.479Z · LW · GW

underscores act weird for some reason.

Escape them with backslashes, \_like so\_.

Comment by Mqrius on Outside the Laboratory · 2013-01-31T16:44:32.423Z · LW · GW

Ah, but that's not what it means to run until significance -- in my interpretation in any case. A significant result would mean that you run until you have either p < 0.005 that your hypothesis is correct, or p < 0.005 that it's incorrect. Doing the experiment in this way would actually validate it for "proof" in conventional Science.

Since he mentions "running until you're bored", his interpretation may be closer to yours though.

Comment by Mqrius on Outside the Laboratory · 2013-01-31T16:16:02.472Z · LW · GW

Upvoted for actually testing the theory :)

Obviously, if what you're actually doing is running a set number of trials in one case and running trials until you reach significance or give up in the second case, you will come up with different results.

I don't believe this is true. Every individual trial is individual Bayesian evidence, unrelated to the rest of the trials except in the fact that your priors are different. If you run until significance you will have updated to a certain probability, and if you run until you're bored you'll also have updated to a certain probability.

Sure, if you run a different amount of trials, you may end up with a different probability. At worst, if you keep going until you're bored, you may end up with results insignificant for the strict rules of "proof" in Science. But as long as you use Bayesian updating, neither method produces some form of invalid results.

which actually seems fairly obvious in retrospect

Ding ding ding! That's my hindsight-bias-reminder-heuristic going off. It tells me when I need to check myself for hindsight bias, and goes off on thoughts like "That seems obvious in retrospect" and "I knew that all along." At the risk of doing your thinking for you, I'd say this is a case of hindsight bias: It wasn't obvious beforehand, since otherwise you wouldn't have felt the need to do the test. This means it's not an obvious concept in the first place, and only becomes clear when you consider it more closely, which you did. Then saying that "it's obvious in retrospect" has no value, and actually devalues the time you put in.

formatting sucks

Try this:

To make a paragraph where your indentation is preserved and no characters are treated specially, precede each line with (at least) four spaces. This is commonly used for computer program source code.

(From the Comment Formatting Help)

Comment by Mqrius on Essay-Question Poll: Dietary Choices · 2013-01-31T16:05:11.148Z · LW · GW

On Lesswrong there's no real objection against reviving old posts, which I think is a good thing.

Your second point surprises me. As a rational vegan, the animal suffering is the direct reason I don't eat meat or eggs, via Alicorn's expected animal suffering hypothesis:

You will save an expected number of animals equal to the number of animals you don't eat that you would otherwise have eaten.

You seem to disagree about that, and after writing and deleting a full post, I think I understood where our differences came from, and wrote the new reply above.

[I would like to] obtain answers to specific questions about vegetarians' decision procedures; that's what I'm still interested in learning about, vs. defending my own.

Those two things are related, in the sense that if your own conflicts with a vegetarian's procedure, then one of them is wrong and both should be argued.

Nevertheless, I respect tapping out, and would like to thank you for the discussion so far. Feel free to reply anyway if you change your mind!

Comment by Mqrius on Causality and Moral Responsibility · 2013-01-31T04:27:35.114Z · LW · GW

Am I responsible for my moral choices?

Is John in front of the burning orphanage responsible for his moral choices?
Also yes.

But can I be angry at John-1 if he runs away?
I find that I can't. Not when my anti-Correspondence bias-heuristics kick in, when I envision his situation, when I realize he is the product of a specific set of understandable environmental factors and psychological factors, which are the product of a specific combination of nature and nurture. Yes, some babies dying is John-1's fault. But John-1 is the "fault" of his upbringing.

I find I can't be honestly be angry, and I can't honestly blame, when I have considered this reasoning. I can be sad, sure, but that's different.

For myself, it doesn't give me a catch-all excuse. I have a choice, I make it, and I am responsible for making it, even if I am a product of nature and nurture. This agrees with the viewpoint expressed in the article, as far as I understand it.

As for law, these views unfold like this: Most people still need to be punished for transgressions, in order to conserve the law's pre-commitment that produces the negative expected utility upon transgressions. For some people, there's also a sense of "justice" involved with it, but that doesn't come into play for my rational reasoning.
As it turns out, these views are also predicted and recommended as the future of law in the paper that TGGP2 linked. I've only read the abstract so far though.

Comment by Mqrius on Learn A New Language! · 2013-01-31T03:27:02.111Z · LW · GW

As a Dutch person with a German girlfriend, I'm in both countries quite often. It's common knowledge in both countries that the Dutch are good at English, and it's common knowledge in Germany that the Germans are not very good at English. Apart from that, fully English courses, or just English lecture slides, are common in our exact sciences university. In Germany apparently not so much, although I don't have first hand experience.

Looking up actual numbers, this seems to be somewhat true. The English Language in Europe wikipedia page has a nice bar graph and map, created from data from an EU survey
In the Netherlands, 87% indicate that they speak English. In Germany it's 51% and in Belgium it's 52%. Across all of Europe, it's 51%.

Oh, and if you're ever back in the Netherlands, you're welcome to drop by :)

Comment by Mqrius on Essay-Question Poll: Dietary Choices · 2013-01-31T02:17:37.971Z · LW · GW

So your argument, if I understand it correctly, is this:

  1. Cheap meat comes from farms that treat their animals badly.
  2. More expensive meat comes from farms that treat their animals better.

Your conclusion is then that we shouldn't force farms into financial trouble, because then the second type turns into the first type due to needing to cut costs.

Here is my view of things:

  1. Farms that treat their animals badly are large, cost-efficiënt farms, solely focused on profit. The only reason their meat is cheap is because that's the optimal sales/price ratio.
  2. Farms that want to treat their animals better produce inherently more expensive meat.

For your view, the causal relation is from the meatprice to the animal welfare.
For me it's the other way around: the animal welfare causes the meatprice.

Current fairtrade farms aren't fairtrade because they want to sell expensive meat. Instead, they want to treat their animals well, which means they're fairtrade and which results in higher meat prices.

Now, to tie this worldview back into the argument we were having:
If 1000 people who previously bought from the supermarket stop buying, megafarms won't start treating their animals worse. After a while, they would reduce their chicken output over time in order to minimize leftover chickens.

If 1000 people who previously bought locally decide to stop doing that, it might increase cost for the rest of the fairtrade buyers, reducing their motivation for buying fairtrade. However, it wouldn't make the fairtrade farmers promptly drop their fairtrade motivations. It also wouldn't suddenly turn them into megafarms, since they don't have the volume for that.

Comment by Mqrius on Essay-Question Poll: Dietary Choices · 2013-01-30T13:43:44.879Z · LW · GW

Oh nice, I had never considered that! Thanks for this new conclusion that flows naturally from two of my beliefs: Brain size differences between species don't correlate strongly with intelligence differences*, and suffering is bad.

*It's mostly brain-to-body mass ratio that seems to correlate.
Within 1 species, there seems to be correlation.

Comment by Mqrius on Essay-Question Poll: Dietary Choices · 2013-01-30T13:36:36.169Z · LW · GW

Possibly 1000 people swearing off pork would instead have the effect of driving that same farm to a ruthless cost-cutting program

Quite frankly, I don't think this argument makes sense. Meat factories are already ruthless cost-cutting programs, and hogs "complaints" are already not taken into account.

What you seem to be implying here is that if meat farming is bad, we should better give them money so they don't make it even worse.

Comment by Mqrius on Feeling Rational · 2013-01-28T05:07:07.938Z · LW · GW

Whenever I notice myself thing "I knew that all along," it reminds me to check for hindsight bias. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

It's one of the easier biases to catch, once you have that cached pattern set up.

Comment by Mqrius on Cached Thoughts · 2013-01-27T10:35:17.531Z · LW · GW

Indeed, I was wondering about that. For more clarity: it's a reply to bw's collapsed comment. It's not nested since this article was moved from overcomingbias to here, and overcomingbias didn't have nested comments. You'll see that a lot in the sequences.

Comment by Mqrius on The Blue-Minimizing Robot · 2013-01-18T21:04:41.640Z · LW · GW

I've got pretty bad akrasia. I want to do things, but then I do other things. Intuitively, I feel like I'm me, and I'm in control.

Rationally, not so much. Rationally speaking the answer to "Am I in control?" depends a lot on how broad you define "I". Is my rational mind in control? No way. Is my brain as a whole in control? Yeah, mostly.

Do excuses automatically pop up when I avoid work? Definitely. "I wanted to relax." "I got distracted." "I hate working." Having some rationality allows me to see through them though, which I presume puts me in the "someone more qualified than a random patient" category you mention.

I'm not sure if this is exactly what Yvain is referring to, I just want to shine a light on the matter from a different angle.

Comment by Mqrius on How to avoid dying in a car crash · 2013-01-18T20:06:45.727Z · LW · GW

I do the same thing. Ever since I did überman for a few months years ago, I've been able to powernap anywhere quite easily.

Comment by Mqrius on Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts · 2013-01-09T02:23:55.057Z · LW · GW

Eliezer Yudkowsky is worth more than one paperclip.

Comment by Mqrius on Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others... · 2013-01-07T22:58:26.361Z · LW · GW

Not quite the same scenario, but close: often when I'm considering donating to some charity, there's a reminder in the back of my head that if I were to truly support this charity I would donate a much larger amount. This isn't a happy thought, it generates conflict: there's another part of me that doesn't like spending large amounts of money. Thus, I often donate nothing at all.

I'm still working on this conflict.

Comment by Mqrius on The Implicit Association Test · 2012-11-02T06:09:41.654Z · LW · GW

I type colemak, but for the test I temporarily swapped back. The E and I are conveniently spaced out in QWERTY, and you only have to locate them once, as Nebu pointed out.