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Comment by nanani on Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice · 2010-06-22T05:21:34.147Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Odd as it may sound, it would have to be "structured randomness" so to speak. Picking a slip out of a bowl would probably work - getting a reward only when the parent is in the mood to give one would likely not. The latter is just as random from the child's perspective, but inconsistent parenting (or animal training, or employee rewarding schemes) is known to be bad at shaping behaviour in the desired fashion.

Comment by nanani on Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice · 2010-06-22T05:17:28.889Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Paying a drug addict to get clean isn't rewarding good behavior so much as rewarding the cessation of bad behavior. This has clear problems. For one thing, it isn't random like the "follow the speed limit for a chance at a small reward" scheme.

A true equivalent would be rewarding random people for not being on drugs, including the population of former addicts that have since gone clean. Being on drugs would be a garantee of not getting this reward.

Comment by nanani on Your intuitions are not magic · 2010-06-16T03:10:25.507Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Voted down because tangential replies that belong elsewhere really get on my nerves. Please comment on the post about the vitamin study, linked in the OP.

Comment by nanani on Bayes' Theorem Illustrated (My Way) · 2010-06-07T02:29:00.837Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, that was great! I already had a fairly good understanding of the Theorem, but this helped cement it further and helped me compute a bit faster.

It also gave me a good dose of learning-tingles, for which I thank you.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: June 2010 · 2010-06-03T00:59:52.748Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Rational Tropers. QED.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: June 2010 · 2010-06-03T00:59:18.428Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Where I live, ETC stands for Electronic Toll Collection and is posted at the entry ramp of toll-roads equipped appropriately.

What's wrong with just using "Edit: additional note goes here"

Comment by nanani on Diseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease · 2010-06-01T01:03:04.086Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent article, though there is a point I'd like to see adressed on the topic.

One salient feature of these marginal, lifestyle-relaed conditions is the large number of false positives that comes with diagnosis. How many alcoholics, chronic gamblers, and so on, are really incapable of helping themselves, as opposed to just being people who enjoy drinking or gambling and claim to be unable to help themselves to diminish social disapproval? Similarly, how many are diagnosed by their peers (He's so mopey, he must be depressed) and possibly come to believe it themselves?

The existence of these false positives is probably a big reason for the sympathy/treatment difference these conditions have to more typical diseases.
The diagnosis for cancer is fairly straightforward (you have a cancerous tumor -> you have cancer), the diagnosis for gambling addiction is much less so (maybe you are neurologically normal and just really like gambling, maybe there's something deeply wrong with your neurochemistry.).

The lower lethality also makes it so that a person can not only self-diagnose a marginal condition and also justify never seeking treatment. If you don't seek treatment for cancer, you die. If you don't seek treatment for TB, you also put a lot of people at risk. If you don't seek treatment for obesity... you stay fat. Barring a certain extreme, that isn't going to kill you nor anyone else. Neither will chronic gambling or any of the other examples, though they might correlate with things that do kill you with a high probability, say alcoholism and drunk driving.

This is pretty much the opposite concern as the one stated in the conclusion of the main post: If a biological fix exists, is there a moral obligation to use it?

Comment by nanani on Abnormal Cryonics · 2010-05-28T00:54:54.937Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting post, but perhaps too much is being compressed into a single expression.

The niceness and weirdness factors of thinking about cryonics do not actually affect the correctness of cryonics itself. The correctness factor depends only on one's values and the weight of probability.

Not thinking one's own values through sufficiently enough to make an accurate evaluation is both irrational and a common failure mode. Miscalculating the probabilities is also a mistake, though perhaps more a mathematical error than a rationality error.

When these are the reasons for rejecting cryonics, then that rejection is obviously incorrect.

That said, you are quite correct to point out that differing values are not automatically a rationality failure, and it is definitely good to consider the image problem associated with the niceness issues.

Perhaps the niceness and weirdness ought to not be jumbled together with the correctness evaluation question.

Comment by nanani on On Enjoying Disagreeable Company · 2010-05-27T00:33:46.244Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Forgive me if this has been adressed elsewhere, but doesn't the knowledge that you are -trying- to like them get in the way of success? You will always know that you are liking them on purpose and applying these techniques to make yourself like them, so how do you avoid this knowledge breaking the desired effect?

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-20T05:42:04.910Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Let me sum it up more simply: Telling people not to judge is not an accurate reflection of what they actually do.

I tried to explain why non-judgmentalism is a bad value to uphold. I have nothing to say about Garin and Vanessa, only about the value of the advice proffered.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-20T05:39:56.734Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have a problem here. Filtering implies that some judgement has been made, and the person has been found wanting. It is harmful to advise against filtering, and therefore also harmful to advise against judging.

They decided whether to say "yes" or "no" to a request, and they (allegedly) didn't enter into some class of cognitive states associated with negative affect or disapproval.

Advising people not to judge others is not the same as what you said. My point is only that this constitues bad advice.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-20T04:58:08.360Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How does one acknowledge and accept everybody without filtering people?

What I have seen of people who hold non-judgmentalism as a aspiration has led me to believe that it is a deeply anti-rational ideal. The net result is repeating the same mistakes over and over, such as associating with people who will will take advantage of the non-judger, or not correcting a critical failure because it's judgemental to consider it a failure. By critical failure I mean things like dropping out of the workforce out of sheer laziness; it would be judgemental to say that this is wrong so therefore it's wrong to stop anyone, including yourself, from doing so.

They simply said "no" as warmly as they said "yes",

So they judged people and their needs or wants, then proceeded to claim they were non-judgemental. Either somebody isn't thinking through the meaning of "judgement", or doesn't care about the actual implications of that advice if it is really followed 100%.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-20T04:53:32.453Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Think of it like being a rationalist aspiration to always tell the truth and never self-decieve: setting that as your aspiration does not mean you always can or will accomplish it, but at the same time, it doesn't mean your aspiration should be downgraded to "being in the top percentage" of truth-telling and non self-deception!

It also doesn't mean you get to claim that you always tell the truth and never self decieve.

Having known some people who made "accepting everyone" and "being non-judgemental" a point of honour and seen the results, I find it very hard to believe that is possible to be successful and really live up to those ideals. I also don't think they're very good ideals.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-20T00:40:53.526Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

So, she said, she and Garin just always acknowledge and accept everyone.

Allow me to express polite but strong skepticism on this point. I would be very much surprised to find that they accept literally EVERYONE. Do they acknowledge panhandlers the same way as attendees to marketing conferences? How about leading politicians from the opposite party as theirs? Religious leaders from a different religion?

It's easy to say "just genuinely accept everyone" when you don't even see most of the people around you.

In fact, really acknowledging and accepting -everyone- would probably ruin them in short order as they would find all their time and resources wasted on people that they are quite right to filter. No one has the time and resources to -actually- do what they are advocating.

It's empty advice.

EDIT: fixed some typos after having a nice, stimulating cup of coffee.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-20T00:27:50.103Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The point was partially made by the fact that water is free, at least everywhere I've lived. Thanks, though.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-19T01:01:56.858Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As a non-drinker, I often passed proffered drinks onto my friends, who could make use of them. Obviously I would never ask for a drink, except maybe a glass of water.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-19T00:55:43.447Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds like Cabaret Hostesses in Japan. They have male counterparts, too, but the female variety is a lot more common.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-19T00:42:06.447Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You effectively answered your own comment, but to clarify -

Strategy guides on dead tree have been obsolete for more than a decade. GameFAQs is over a decade old, and it's the best place to go for strategies, walkthroughs, and message boards full of analysis by armies of deticated fans. People are still finding new and inventive strategies to optimize their first-generation Pokemon games, after all. Games have long passed the point on the complexity axis where the developper's summary of the point of the game is enough to convey an optimal strategy.

Your last paragraph is gold.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-19T00:33:43.207Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's nothing wrong with not wanting what those around have to offer, either.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-19T00:31:48.638Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It's worth pointing out that all three examples are highly culturally variable.

The "aspie logic" example behaviour is far more common where I live (urban Japan).

In the first, most people lack the facilities to bake, especially young adults in small apartments or dorms. Buying a cake is the obvious thing to do. That or taking the SO to a cake-serving cafe.

In the second, -no one- here holds doors for strangers. I had to train myself out of the habit because it was getting me very strange looks. Similarly, no one says "bless you" or equivalent when strangers sneeze. The rules of courtesy are different.

In the third, it's normal here to expect repeated invitations for any occasion. One invitation will be for show, so you invite people you don't expect to make it as well. The key is that people won't actually make plans to attend until two or more invitations have been received. (This is locally variable; some regions and demographics expect three or four invites. Think of it as a pre-event version of the British quirk where one says "We must do this again sometime" while having no actual desire to repeat the encounter.)

The bottom line is that the other person's expectations ought to be factored into the logic. Beware generalizing from a sample of one and all that.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-19T00:21:14.412Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

No, pub talk is not exactly the same as a black tie dinner. The -small talk- aspect, though, very much is. It all comes down to social ranking of the participants. In the former, it skews to word assortative mating and in the latter presumably toward power and resources in the buisness world.

If you have a need or desire to win at social interaction, good for you. Please consider that for other people, it -really- isn't that important. There is more to life than attracting mates and business partners. Those things are often a means to an end, and it is preferable to some of us to pursue the ends directly when possible.

The video game analogy is just plain bad.

Comment by nanani on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2010-05-18T00:51:52.900Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Terrible analogy.

Video games have a lot of diversity to them and different genres engage very different skills. Small talk all seems to encompass the same stuff, namely social ranking.

Some of us know how to do it but just don't -care-, and that doesn't mean we're in fact bad at it. I think that is the point this comment thread is going for.

Comment by nanani on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2010-05-18T00:38:28.765Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm several days late answering, but FWIW, I scored a 30 but only checked off one of the five diagnostic questions. I've never had my IQ tested as an adult.

I do obsessively pursue my chosen interests but given that one of those is language, I don't have the social / verbal awkwardness. I don't -like- social situations but I can function just fine in them.

Comment by nanani on Q&A with Harpending and Cochran · 2010-05-13T03:04:57.650Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Not to mention viewer base fragmentation. There is less need to appeal to the so-called lowest common denominator when there are hundreds or thousands of avenues for transmission. Those without patience for long story arcs can watch a different program more easily today than they could before cable, satelite, and the internet.

Comment by nanani on Q&A with Harpending and Cochran · 2010-05-13T03:02:26.147Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded, but with a request for contrast, if possible, with human-caused mass-death such as invasion by conquering hordes. What effect do such phenomena have at the genetic level wrt cognition, as opposed to cultural or lingustic transmission?

Comment by nanani on Is Google Paperclipping the Web? The Perils of Optimization by Proxy in Social Systems · 2010-05-12T03:14:00.867Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Somehow I found the tl;dr impenetrable, but the actual article eminently readable. Is this deliberate?

Comment by nanani on Is Google Paperclipping the Web? The Perils of Optimization by Proxy in Social Systems · 2010-05-12T03:10:33.917Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't noticed a vast increase, but I have noticed waves, so to speak, of link-farm prevalence. The very effect in action?

Comment by nanani on The Psychological Diversity of Mankind · 2010-05-11T02:39:01.159Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well put!

We might want to come up with another name for (2). Humans are closer to each other in mindspace than they are to any alien mind, but it does not follow that, close up, all humans have the exact same psychology.

There may be more than zoom-degree involved in the difference.

Comment by nanani on The Psychological Diversity of Mankind · 2010-05-11T02:36:14.226Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does "autism bloggers" mean "people who blog specifically about autism"?

If so, it might be instructive to check how many bloggers in other subjects also happen to have autism. It might be dificult to verify but the blogosphere is large enough to dig up a usefully-sized sample and disentangle to some degree the autism-blogging link.

Comment by nanani on Q&A with Harpending and Cochran · 2010-05-11T01:58:00.810Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Wow! I haven't got any questions (yet) but I am very eager to dive into this Q&A. Thanks to everyone involved in organizing this.

By the way, you spelled Steve SailEr's name wrong.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-07T05:04:23.600Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Probably the close similarity to this site's oft-quoted "Shut up and multiply."

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-07T05:00:35.499Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What -are- you talking about?

We have massively literate societies and a culture in which all the knowledge is shared massively. After a crisis, the remaining few would have to pick up a lot of skills they lack before crisis, but they would have the means to do so in said stores of knowledge, plus the immense advantage of knowing that the things destroyed are possible. The general public -is- capable of learning.

Hunter-gatherers had no knowledge of chemistry, electronics, and mechanics, nor any concept that the things we do with them were possible.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-07T04:47:21.599Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is this not true true of most modern cars, not only Japanese ones?

Decades ago, drivers could and did repair engines themselves, but today's cars require more knowledge, training, and tools than the hobbyist is likely to have.

The expense of repair says little about reliability. Mean time to failure would be better.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-07T04:33:57.761Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

All liquids, not just drinks? ...I wonder when Coca-Cola will start making liquid soaps, fuel, and lubricants.

Comment by nanani on But Somebody Would Have Noticed · 2010-05-07T02:48:01.469Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

If they had it, yes. Not otherwise. This evidence would have to cover both the immediate claim (that they were working at NASA at that time) and the larger one (that the moon landing was faked). Evidence explaining why no one else ever came forward would be appreciated but not required if the other two things are present.

Comment by nanani on The Red Bias · 2010-04-23T01:35:47.643Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder, could the effect be reduced by using a darker shade of red? This red is certainly more vivid than the blue to my eye.

Comment by nanani on Eight Short Studies On Excuses · 2010-04-22T01:23:07.791Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

RE: The Grieving Student

You don't even need to go as far as society. The school, or school board, will almost certainly have an exception in place for this sort of thing. This is true at all levels for death of an immediate family member. (I speak from experience, having been exempted from final exams one year. My final grade was instead based on coursework, as if there had been no final for the class. )

In fact, odds are the school or department will have a clear policy that says concerts, sports events, and the like are not an acceptable excuse for missed work, but funerals, severe illness, and the like, are. So, to make the story more plausible, the precommitter should be the department head or principal or something like that, rather than the teacher. < / nitpick>

Comment by nanani on Ugh fields · 2010-04-15T01:46:42.157Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While it might indeed be useful to have a disgust reaction to candy or video games, the "ugh fields" seem not to be visceral disgust, but visceral, conditioned-pain-induced tendencies to cut off thought.

In my experience, this only ever happens with a specific candy or game. For example, If I lose repeatedly and humiliatedly in an online game, I might develop an ugh field that ultimately prevents me from even thinking about popping on to play it, but the corresponding comfort activity is far more likely to be "play a different game" than "go study some math instead".

Comment by nanani on Of Exclusionary Speech and Gender Politics · 2010-04-14T01:28:49.394Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Can we agree on this or am I falling for bad logic?

We can certainly agree on this point. Though I hasten to add that if you had indeed presented some sort of research, I would not have made the comment. Without objective fact behind it, it smacked of condescencion.

the way you stated it in the original post was judgmental.

I made no original post. I urge you to read the actual original post my comment was made to respond to, and the threads the prompted it. I will not be recapping the gender kerfluffle for you.

Or is that not the way things run around here? Is it better to insult everyone that doesn't think the way you do?

Consider your bait safely ignored.

Comment by nanani on Of Exclusionary Speech and Gender Politics · 2010-04-12T01:45:01.725Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Your comment begins "It might be considerate to realize that females do have a legitimate reason for why they are more salient to their own sex and issues regarding gender".

In saying this, you are telling me (a female) that I need to realize something about females. This is questionable, at best, and is so regardless of your own gender.

Then you conclude "... a stronger identification with their own gender. " to which I reply "Balderdash".

Gender is a part of one's identity, obviously, but to say that women can't help but feel theirs is more salient is a broad-strokes over-generalizing statement that is ultimately as patroniaing as anything else that can or has been taken to be biased against women. It effectively says "Oh, women can't help but feel they are treated differently," and in doing so, treats them differently.

Do you understand the objection, now?

More to the point, my original comment was expressing that rationality is NOT a gender issue. I very strongly believe that to let gender issues interfere in one's goals, be they rationality goals or not, is a bad move. That is all.

Comment by nanani on Pain and gain motivation · 2010-04-09T00:44:43.485Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Are you sure about that? Beware generalizing from a sample of one.

Heroin addiction is in most cases carefully cultivated by the addict, for a variety of reasons, and stopping is not really difficult.

I recommend Theodore Dalrymple's insightful book Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy for clarification as to why akrasia and heroin addiction are not related.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: April 2010 · 2010-04-05T01:16:05.727Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is true when the social systems in question are built on dishonest foundations. Observing whether or not intellectual honesty has this effect on a system has predictive value wrt the eventual fate of the society employing the system.

Voted up.

Comment by nanani on Rationality quotes: April 2010 · 2010-04-05T00:49:05.263Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Typo-hunt: should read "abandoning arithMetic" (without the capital of course)

Comment by nanani on Of Exclusionary Speech and Gender Politics · 2010-04-05T00:37:56.409Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This comment was never intended to attract people to the site, so your last paragraph is not relevant.

Please refrain from lecturing a female on what females do or do not do.

Comment by nanani on Compartmentalization as a passive phenomenon · 2010-03-29T01:18:34.941Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nitpick: "If a pen is dropped on A moon"
It doesn't specify Earth's moon. If a pen were dropped on say, Deimos, it might very well appear to do B) for a long moment ;) (Deimos is Mars' outermost moon and too small to retain a round shape. Its gravity is only 0.00256 m/s^2 and escape velocity is only 5.6 m/s. That means you could run off it.)

On the other hand, the word "dropped" effectively gives the game away. Things dropped go DOWN, not up, and they don't float in place. Would be better to say "released".

And now, back to our story...

Comment by nanani on Levels of communication · 2010-03-25T00:32:24.525Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Might it be as simple as being Special? Someone with an unusual medical problem is deserving of extra attention by virtue of having it.

Comment by nanani on Levels of communication · 2010-03-25T00:30:09.250Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Those all sound like they fit primairily into socialization, with varying doses of status thrown in.

Maybe a Venn diagram would work better than strict levels.

Comment by nanani on Understanding your understanding · 2010-03-24T00:34:46.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd call it "time to dust off the math books". Incidentally, I've got to do just that.

Comment by nanani on The scourge of perverse-mindedness · 2010-03-23T01:15:07.998Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"We are not born into this world, but grow out of it; for in the same way an apple tree apples, the Earth peoples.”

This statement is patently false in many ways and there is no way to justify saying that "the basic idea is indisputably correct". The basic idea that the OP imputed was not derivable from this statement in any way that I can see. Am I missing some crucial bit of context?

Some non-trivial holes: We ARE born into this world; we do not grow out of it in any sense, even metaphorical (though I think many here hope to accomplish the feat in the future); the Earth is not an agent and does not verb-people.

The more interesting materialsm discussion is already vigorous. I choose to focus on a minor point not to detract from it.

Comment by nanani on You Are Likely To Be Eaten By A Grue · 2010-03-18T00:47:36.849Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Though you might have heard it before, the solution is most likely to find a way to support yourself through the things you already enjoy doing, and/or cultivate an interest to the point where you will be able to make money with it.

Doing so would surely be more effective than beating your head on the wall of "I can't do it".