A math question 2011-06-18T02:22:12.786Z · score: -3 (10 votes)
Student meetups 2011-04-11T23:09:30.287Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Rationalist Movies (Spoilers for the film Limitless) 2011-03-28T04:58:00.870Z · score: 9 (16 votes)
Columbia University Meetup 2011-03-10T21:44:20.059Z · score: 8 (9 votes)
Singularity Summit 2010 Less Wrong Meetup 2010-08-11T22:53:25.960Z · score: 7 (8 votes)


Comment by Mycroft65536 on [deleted post] 2017-06-01T04:02:56.250Z


I think you're dramatically underestimating how your responses are being read by third parties. Your style of response to handoflixue specifically has made at least one person I've spoken to decide to avoid giving you well thought out criticism out of fear of you yelling at them and being very confrontational.

Comment by mycroft65536 on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-17T04:30:41.612Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by mycroft65536 on Something to Protect · 2013-08-16T06:02:58.648Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Explore the world. Meet people, read books, find blogs like this one. Hopefully something will inspire you.

Comment by mycroft65536 on What Bayesianism taught me · 2013-08-13T16:58:14.152Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No. We can't extrapolate a trend. That's what"You cannot expect that future evidence will sway you in a particular direction" means.

Comment by mycroft65536 on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2013-03-06T05:57:21.580Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Likely more than the list price of those procedures. People who have expensive potentially harmful procedures being done on them would get great benefits having MetaMed review those procedures.

Comment by mycroft65536 on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2013-03-05T22:52:08.519Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Jaan is also the CTO, I'm not sure if that's on the website.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-03-05T02:29:55.815Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you're commited to rationality, then you're putting your belief system at risk every day. Any day you might acquire more information and be forced to change you belief system, and it could be very unpleasant and be very disturbing.

--Michael Huemer

Comment by mycroft65536 on Social status hacks from The Improv Wiki · 2012-03-23T03:09:14.985Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Are you of the opinion that people on this site, in their daily lives, are erring on the side of implementing too many high status moves? Or that the people you met in SF while at the mega-camp were doing this stuff too much (Michael Vassar and Eliezer aside)? I agree that the optimum isn't either extreme, I think the nudging should be towards high status behavior.

And does anything in the original post endorse the high status behaviors over the low status ones?

Comment by mycroft65536 on The self-fooling problem. · 2011-10-10T22:59:12.096Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Tell the person in both states that if he finds the coin an arbitrary dog is going to die and the subject will receive $100. Then just before the subject starts to hide the coin, show the a cute puppy to them. The subject will try to hide the coin very well, and then later, without the memory of the cute puppy, will try to find the coin. Incentives should work out, adjust the animal(child?) and dollar amount to suit the subject.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Should I play World of Warcraft? · 2011-10-10T21:10:20.535Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When I would explain wanting vs liking vs approving Sex was my go to example for an activity that fits all three.

Comment by mycroft65536 on An Outside View on Less Wrong's Advice · 2011-07-07T23:50:11.583Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure about that. The world is big enough that you can live most of your life mostly in contact with other non-conformists in your particular cluster. I'm doing that right now.

Comment by mycroft65536 on The Four-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss - any LWers tried it? · 2011-07-07T20:02:06.813Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My starting weight was 183lbs at 5' 10". I went up to 202lbs (quite a bit was fat), I'm now down to 194 (the loss was fat/water).

Consuming a lot of food is hard. I started eating a lot on the second Wednesday in June. On Thursday I was sick as a dog, but kept eating. On Friday I was happy, energetic and eating everything in sight.

I likely had atypical results, but drinking a lot of milk, eating 200+grams of protein a day, eating 4000 kcalories and a good workout regimen should lead to putting on weight.

Comment by mycroft65536 on The Four-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss - any LWers tried it? · 2011-06-17T19:49:13.531Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've been trying the muscle building elements at the bootcamp, while eating lots of food, the required amounts of protein, and lots of milk. Over the course of a week (three workouts), I've gained 15-20 pounds and 0 inches on my waist (Body fat % have been sketchy).

Comment by mycroft65536 on The cost of universal cryonics · 2011-05-26T17:05:20.149Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I doubt there are any traditions yet. There just haven't been enough people cryopreserved.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Less Wrong NYC: Case Study of a Successful Rationalist Chapter · 2011-04-12T22:50:10.609Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's actually surprising how quickly applying rationality can make one more attractive. Winning at nutrition, fashion, fitness take very little time if you're body is at all typical, especially if you're in a community where resources can be pooled. Posture and confidence are harder, but not much. The fact that there are virtuous cycles there also help.

I've seen real gains in attractiveness over the past several years, with noticeable progress on the scale of months. I've achieved gains of 3-4 points on a 10 point scale.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Less Wrong NYC: Case Study of a Successful Rationalist Chapter · 2011-04-12T22:43:09.684Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If both participants are rational the second allows the worried party to get real data and execute an update, allowing a real emotional worry to go away. This allows people to have less anxiety about their relationships. This makes relationships with rationalists orders of magnitude better than relationships with people who are merely smart and reasonable.

I don't think I could go back to dating a nonrationalist.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Student meetups · 2011-04-12T22:28:40.534Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm interested in sharing notes on discussion topics, recruitment efforts, and demographic balancing.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-05T14:41:41.362Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

... if everything goes according to plan.

I think you're supposed to laugh evilly there.


Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-05T03:55:22.849Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Damn! I googled for spelling and everything =)

Comment by mycroft65536 on Q: What has Rationality Done for You? · 2011-04-05T03:54:03.821Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Lets say the Singularity is likely to happen in 2045 like Kurzweil says, and you want to maximize the chances that it's positive. The idea that you should get to work making as much money to donate to SIAI, or that you should start researching fAGI (depending on your talents). What you do tomorrow doesn't matter. What matters is the average output over the next 35 years.

This is important because a strategy where you have a emotional breakdown in 2020 fails. If you get so miserable you kill yourself you've failed at your goal. You need to make sure that this fallible agent, XIXIDu, stays at a very high level of productivity for the next 35 years. That almost never happens if you're not fulfilling the needs your monkey brain demands.

Immediate gratification isn't a terminal goal, you've figured this out, but it does work as an instrumental goal on the path of a greater goal.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-04T14:03:38.429Z · score: 44 (46 votes) · LW · GW

Luck is statistics taken personally.

Penn Jellete

Comment by mycroft65536 on The Good News of Situationist Psychology · 2011-04-01T20:04:55.921Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Cool. We're have a fun weekend planned.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Reflections on rationality a year out · 2011-03-31T16:39:30.775Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It costs you almost nothing to post a meetup for a Waco group up here, and only an afternoon reading/on your laptop to wait at a failed meetup. Just because a course of action has a very high payout doesn't mean that trying it has a high cost. The universe isn't fair, and sometimes that's a good thing.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Reflections on rationality a year out · 2011-03-31T15:47:34.947Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Most people stumble in with their friends. Your friends are the people you happen to sit next to at the first day of class, people who work in the same office as you, people who belong to the same clubs as you, people who go to the same bars as you. This is usually local because as the search radius increases, the amount of new data you have to deal with (people to filter out) becomes excessive.

It takes a strong sense of purpose to travel and hour and a half by train to meetup with strangers at an apartment in order to find a community, all based on the fact that you read the same blog. That is a very small part of search space.

There are many things that are claimed to give people large amounts of happiness. Most don't work, and many that work won't work for a given person. Quickly identifying what works for you, and making a beeline towards it is one of the largest benefits rationality can give a typical person. People see this and focus on the "it" (in this case finding a community) and say "of course that made you happy." This feels like hindsight bias. If you had met SarahC a year ago, would you have said to her "Oh, you obviously need to meet us with these really awesome rationalists in NYC"? Finding that option is where the rationality comes in.

Generally, people who try to lose weight don't actually lose weight, and when they do lose some weight, they put it back on later (yo-yo dieting). Zvi, a NYC rationalist, recently posted about how he lost weight using TDT style thinking. He lost a considerable amount, and has kept it off for many years. He is not alone in the NYC group. Many of us have done this relatively simple task, and kept the weight off for years. We all used different methods to change our behavior, but we each picked one that worked for our specific problems.

Rationality helps you CHOOSE one option out of many. The option you choose isn't "rational" in any special sense, but in some cases the choice would be unlikely. Maybe as unlikely as traveling 63 miles to hang out in a strangers apartment. Noticing that option exists is a superpower, even if taking it is obvious afterwards.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7 · 2011-03-29T21:31:54.830Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Something occurred to me lately about the story. It seems likely that there's another character in the shadows (if not more then one).

What exactly has been going on with Nicholas Flamel?

He exists within the story, Dumbledore has consulted with him. The philosopher's stone is still being hidden at Hogwarts, and presumably Voldemort still wants it.

This seems like a decent hypothesis on who/what Quirrell is if he isn't Voldemort.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationalist Movies (Spoilers for the film Limitless) · 2011-03-29T20:05:20.894Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In relative terms (eg being in the top 1%) obviously yes.

In absolute terms (eg being able to experience more places, creative works, ideas, etc than people 1000 years ago could have dreamed about) obviously no.

One is more important than the other.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationalist Movies (Spoilers for the film Limitless) · 2011-03-29T20:03:31.214Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There is a moment where he gets "the idea". This is the thing that takes him from his hedonic whirlwind to a purposeful existence. He's trying to change the world.

My hope is that he'd use the powers of the pill to set up labs to study the process it works on, mass produce it, use his political clout as president to push it though as a legal nootropic, and use the bully pulpit to promote it. Make everyone smart.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Verifying Rationality via · 2011-03-28T10:20:18.834Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've used "have fun" for the past several years. "Choose well" occurred to me within the last week or so, I've been signing my emails with it. Both are two syllables, "choose well" works for rationalists and sounds like what you're looking for.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Constantly ask what you're currently doing that is irrational · 2011-03-26T06:20:31.986Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You're not ugly

Comment by mycroft65536 on Verifying Rationality via · 2011-03-26T05:52:50.956Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, most of the time you're doing the same calculation over and over. People who can't do math are fine most of the time (but not all, and that matters) because they have the odds memorized.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Verifying Rationality via · 2011-03-26T05:49:57.130Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I've always been fond of the Penn Jillette line, "Luck is statistics taken personally"

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Boot Camp · 2011-03-24T18:05:15.536Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

If you solve the equation, but don't get your results published in a top paper, do you win?

If you debug the software, but sell it for half it's worth, do you win?

If you fail to get the recognition for your work and your boss takes all the credit, do you win?

Humans are social animals, we live in a social society. In almost any task, you accomplish more, acquire more rewards, are better set up for the next task with a series of interpersonal skills. Life is not discrete little pieces. Most people (maybe even everyone) who considers applying to this program are much better at seeing the true state of a program than seeing the true state of a party, much better at manipulating the program than the party, and due to law of the instrument see one set of skills as more valuable than the other. In reality both are needed.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Boot Camp · 2011-03-22T14:26:02.261Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You could apply and decide if you can go later.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Less Wrong Rationality and Mainstream Philosophy · 2011-03-21T01:30:12.299Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Expanding on this, which section of my local Barnes And Noble is your (Eliezer) book going to be in? Philosophy seems like the best fit (aside from the best selling non-fiction) to get new interested readership.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Less Wrong NYC: Case Study of a Successful Rationalist Chapter · 2011-03-18T06:36:05.240Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

There are people who show up once or a few times and fail to continue coming. They rarely give explanations for why they stop showing up. I imagine some move, some find other ways to spend a Tuesday, and some don't like what we do. Good data on this is unavailable to me.

The group has rejected one person. This person had been drinking too much, and disruptive over several weeks. The process took several hours of discussion before the person was asked to come on the condition that they stayed sober at the meetups. The person decided not to come back.

Comment by mycroft65536 on How I Lost 100 Pounds Using TDT · 2011-03-14T21:24:40.495Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I have had significant weight loss without reducing fried things and still having bi-weekly cheesecake. I had MORE weight loss after getting rid of the cheesecake, but I did go from 220 to about 190 with the cheesecake in my diet. (5'10", male)

The traditional American diet is so bad that most people can likely have significant weight loss with trivial loss of pleasure. This is especially true when combined with a human's natural scope insensitivity.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Optimal Employment · 2011-01-31T14:26:43.630Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I've always been interested in why personal identity was tied up in a career. If you self identified as a mathematician, why couldn't you earn more money being a bartender in Australia while spending your free time doing math and participating in the mathematical community?

I know "scientists", "artists", and "teachers" who identify as such and make their money doing other things. At the extreme end, if you identify as a teacher why not spend 15 hours a week making a very high income doing XYZ and maybe 35 hours a week volunteering/working for low wages at a tutoring center? You're undeniably a teacher, and you likely have more disposable income.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-07T02:59:42.006Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also 25% of the people there were, iirc, children of cronicysts. That number goes up when you count parents. And we're talking about an age group and demographic that isn't having a lot of kids anyway.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Burning Man Meetup: Bayes Camp · 2010-08-26T18:34:26.421Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But could Heinlein "die gallantly"? I think most people tend to leave that one off of their to do lists. I mean if the opportunity arrises, you walk past a burning orphanage for example, why not? But very few people set out to do this one.

Comment by mycroft65536 on H+ Summit Meetup Harvard 6/12 · 2010-06-10T18:54:39.320Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'll be going and I'll be selling the Summit in the lobby. Stop by and say hi.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes: February 2010 · 2010-02-02T03:40:11.102Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I've always thought you can have more fun in New York than splashing around in the water. But I'm not a dolphin.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes: February 2010 · 2010-02-02T03:38:24.668Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't catpenny cost less than a penny (in terms of dollars spent)? You can recover most, if not all, of the pennies.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Rationality Quotes: February 2010 · 2010-02-02T03:36:54.222Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Or at least of maintaining friendships with people who have cats.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Open Thread: February 2010 · 2010-02-02T03:19:20.558Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't just make rationality irrelevant, it makes everything irrelevant. Love doesn't matter because you don't meet that special someone in every world, and will meet them in at least one world. Education doesn't matter because guessing will get you right somewhere.

I want to be happy and right in as many worlds as possible. Rationality matters.

Comment by mycroft65536 on You Be the Jury: Survey on a Current Event · 2009-12-09T09:13:08.525Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Do you have a reason to believe that your opinion is more likely to be correct than other commenters on this site?

Do you believe them to be guilty and linked to an impassioned site full of logical fallacies over a more informative one? (I don't mean to impune your post, just guessing that this is the solution to your rationalist puzzle)

I think this experiment is going to be of limited success at best due to the fact that people on the road to rationality are far less likely to acquire new beliefs with both strong emotional component and poor grounding in facts. That's kind of the point of being a rationalist, true beliefs.

Comment by mycroft65536 on How to test your mental performance at the moment? · 2009-11-24T00:05:00.720Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I play a quick game of minesweeper on my phone. If I get a decent hard map solved in under 1 min I'm sharp. An easy map under 15 seconds. If i lose, I try and figure out if it was random or poor judgment. It's not as good as some other tests mentioned, but it's fast and mobile.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Doing your good deed for the day · 2009-10-28T01:16:43.386Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Mike Caro, a poker player, writes about this sort of behavior. The idea here is that people psychologically want to do a little above the median each day. They work late to get up to normal money, and quit early when they do well. Whereas optimal behavior is the opposite.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Anticipation vs. Faith: At What Cost Rationality? · 2009-10-15T21:12:27.219Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Faith is easy to dismiss because it can fairly be defined as "belief without evidence".

What exactly is meant by "anticipation"?

Comment by mycroft65536 on Your Most Valuable Skill · 2009-09-29T13:00:59.620Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We're strong enough to fill our evolutionary niche, barely.

Our heuristics are good enough to get us through life with an adequate chance of success.

We can do better.

Comment by mycroft65536 on Privileging the Hypothesis · 2009-09-29T03:54:12.183Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's most definitely a fallacy. It puts forth a conclusion without sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion. Just like an argument from authority or a gambler's fallacy.