Questions about the NY Megameetup 2017-12-03T14:41:06.508Z
New program can beat Alpha Go, didn't need input from human games 2017-10-18T20:01:39.616Z
Giving the results of scientific research away 2016-12-18T16:43:17.021Z
When companies go over 150 people...... 2016-12-02T19:57:37.162Z
Terminally ill teen won historic ruling to preserve body 2016-11-18T14:16:59.952Z
*How* people shut down thought because of high-status respectable halos 2016-10-20T14:09:07.504Z
"Is Science Broken?" is underspecified 2016-08-12T11:59:39.834Z
Prediction challenge: Zika and birth rates 2016-03-12T16:55:34.631Z
Voiceofra is banned 2015-12-23T18:29:35.467Z
Deadly sins of software estimation 2015-12-22T13:38:39.542Z
Weirdness at the wiki 2015-11-30T23:37:44.283Z
People being controlled by what they can't perceive consciously 2015-09-21T16:42:59.230Z
Yudkowsky, Thiel, de Grey, Vassar panel on changing the world 2015-09-01T15:57:12.881Z
Scientific studies and trust 2015-08-07T16:44:06.175Z
The horrifying importance of domain knowledge 2015-07-30T15:28:38.728Z
New Meetup in New Hampshire 2015-06-17T20:30:01.435Z
How much do we know about creativity? 2015-06-09T12:43:44.964Z
We Should Introduce Ourselves Differently 2015-05-18T20:48:25.596Z
Which ideas from LW would you most like to see spread? 2015-05-18T14:12:11.039Z
What you know that ain't so 2015-03-23T18:24:58.730Z
Pratchett, Rationality, and Winning 2015-03-13T15:38:50.916Z
Recovering the past 2015-03-12T19:25:16.971Z
Effectiveness of different supplement brands? 2015-02-16T16:22:36.380Z
I'm the new moderator 2015-01-13T23:21:55.848Z
Inverse relationship between belief in foom and years worked in commercial software 2015-01-04T15:03:29.091Z
Good things to have learned.... 2014-12-03T19:29:34.580Z
Non-standard politics 2014-10-24T15:27:46.496Z
What supplements do you take, if any? 2014-10-23T12:36:44.200Z
Sugar and motivation 2014-06-13T15:46:03.078Z
The physiology of fun? 2014-06-12T00:10:51.194Z
Links! 2014-06-05T13:09:27.447Z
Brainstorming for post topics 2014-05-31T15:08:41.361Z
Open Thread, April 27-May 4, 2014 2014-04-27T20:34:17.084Z
Mathematics and saving lives 2014-04-19T13:32:18.801Z
Meetup: Philadelphia, April 12, 1PM 2014-04-11T08:24:08.260Z
Meetup : Philadelphia, PA: Goal Factoring Exercise 2014-03-28T04:50:33.624Z
A small rationalist win, and a question about promulgation 2014-03-27T14:22:25.838Z
Engineering archaeology 2014-03-20T16:38:36.544Z
Meetup: Philadelphia, 1 PM, March 23-- treating mistakes as though they're bugs 2014-03-19T15:55:42.348Z
Meetup: Philadelphia, March 9, 2014 2014-03-08T06:43:15.146Z
Is IQ what we actually need to know? 2014-02-25T18:21:42.780Z
Meetup : Philadelphia-- Debugging in Meatspace 2014-02-22T18:18:10.823Z
Meetup: Philadelphia, February 23: Debugging in Meatspace 2014-02-21T16:43:47.648Z
MEETUP: February 9, Philadelphia 2014-02-07T19:07:43.241Z
Open Thread for February 3 - 10 2014-02-03T15:30:19.834Z
Open thread, January 25- February 1 2014-01-25T14:52:41.851Z
Open thread for January 1-7, 2014 2014-01-01T15:54:33.720Z
Open thread for December 24-31, 2013 2013-12-24T08:58:55.253Z
Local truth 2013-12-20T17:04:09.426Z
Open thread for December 9 - 16, 2013 2013-12-09T16:35:44.861Z


Comment by NancyLebovitz on Algorithmic Intent: A Hansonian Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle · 2021-04-17T13:27:20.443Z · LW · GW

""Why didn't you tell him the truth? Were you afraid?"

"I'm not afraid. I chose not to tell him, because I anticipated negative consequences if I did so."

"What do you think 'fear' is, exactly?""

The possibly amusing thing is that I read it as being someone who thought fear was shameful and was therefore lying, or possibly lying to themself about not feeling fear. I wasn't expecting a discussion of p-zombies, though perhaps I should have been.

Does being strongly inhibited against knowing one's own emotions make one more like a p-zombie?

As for social inhibitions against denying what other people say about their motives, it's quite true that it can be socially corrosive to propose alternate motives for what people are doing, but I don't think your proposal will make things much worse.

We're already there. A lot of political discourse include assuming the worst about the other side's motivations.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Give it a google · 2020-12-30T13:38:55.129Z · LW · GW

Have a theory about why people can be reluctant to google. It may be excessively bitter.

To a large extent (especially for neurotypical people, though it seems to depend on the subject) learning is an unconscious process. The result is that people don't know how they learned and don't know how to teach. 

What's more, people are apt to want to just get things done and also apt to have punishment as an easy strategy. So they shame people for not knowing what they are supposed to have picked up somehow.

This means that googling indicates that you didn't know something already, so googling means getting past an emotional barrier.

That's certainly not the only thing that's going on. I think asking questions as socializing is a thing, and so is not realizing the amazing scope of what can be searched for. And for some of us, just being old enough that the habit of googling didn't get developed. 

I'm a frequent and pretty habitual googler, and I've mostly stopped calling it "living in the future".

Comment by NancyLebovitz on The Schelling Choice is "Rabbit", not "Stag" · 2020-12-05T21:33:24.981Z · LW · GW

It seems to me this is getting into Social Safety Net territory. Elliott is cautious because he really has fewer resources. Would the group benefit if he's given more so he isn't running so close to the edge?

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Pain is not the unit of Effort · 2020-11-27T18:31:26.236Z · LW · GW

Just to underline the fundamental question: if pain isn't a good metric (and I agree that it isn't) what is a good metric?

I'm recommending Bruce Frantzis' tai chi, qi gong, bagua etc. classes at

One of the fundamental principles is to put out reliable 70% effort-- this is enough to create progress without much chance of injury or burnout. Considerably less effort if you're sick or injured.

This is harder than it sounds, if you're from a culture which assumes that more effort = better results and is a sign of more virtue. 

Your effort level is what you can do that day. You aren't competing with yourself. You aren't expecting that you can make yourself do today what you could do yesterday. You may not be able to do as much with one side of your body as the other. Respect that. In fact, let the stronger side match the weaker side.

I tend to think of overvaluing effort as an American issue, but it appears in other cultures, too. Frantzis teaches water method-- the 70% approach-- but there's also fire method in Chinese tradition, which involves pursuing enlightenment or whatever with as much force as you can muster.

This sort of steady effort might be best for sports and qi gong, but it's my impression that high effort followed by relaxation is better for intellectual work.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is The Real Wealth · 2020-11-04T15:50:15.921Z · LW · GW

What have you been learning? How has it been working out for you?

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Notes on Brainwashing & 'Cults' · 2020-10-28T13:33:57.620Z · LW · GW

Until I read this, I didn't realize there are different possible claims about the dangers of cults. One claim-- the one gwern is debunking-- is that cults are a large-scale danger, and practically anyone can be taken over by a cult.

The other less hyperbolic claim is that cults can seriously screw up people's lives, even if it's a smallish proportion of people. I still think that's true.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem · 2020-06-27T17:38:47.542Z · LW · GW

As I understand it, the purpose of a ventilator is to make up for a person's inability to move sufficient air in and out of their lungs, but it assumes that the lungs, if given air, don't have a problem with getting oxygen into the bloodstream.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem · 2020-06-27T14:08:54.926Z · LW · GW

Tell me about more of the things expers weren't talking about.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-27T14:07:29.488Z · LW · GW

" In 2017, a federal court, the U.S. Southern District Court of New York, sided with Elsevier and ruled Sci-Hub should stop operating and pay $15 million in damages. In a similar lawsuit, the American Chemistry Society won a case against Elbakyan and the right to demand another $4.8 million in damages.   

In addition, both courts effectively prohibited any U.S. company from facilitating Sci-Hub’s work. Elbakyan had to migrate the website from its early .org domain, and the U.S.-based online payment services are no longer an option for her. She can no longer use Cloudflare, a service that protects websites from denial-of-service attacks, she said. "

Comment by NancyLebovitz on A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem · 2020-06-26T19:57:36.722Z · LW · GW

A thing I regret not thinking of is that ventilators aren't as crucial as was expected because they're dependent on the long tissue being healthy.

I'm not an expert, but it's so obvious. I don't know how to avoid making that sort of mistake. Maybe being careful about tracking chains of causation.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-25T14:58:23.900Z · LW · GW

Conservation of thought, perhaps. The root problem is having more options than you can handle, probably amplified by bad premises. Or the other hand, if you're swamped, when will you have time to improve your premises?

"Conservation of thought" is from an early issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-25T14:51:27.140Z · LW · GW

I don't have children, and my upbringing wasn't especially good or bad on learning rationality.

Still, what I'm noticing in your post and the comments so far is the idea that rationality is something to put into your children.

I believe that rationality mostly needs to be modeled. Take your mind and your children's connection to the universe seriously. Show them that thinking and arguing are both fun and useful.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott · 2020-06-23T18:45:01.462Z · LW · GW

I think that even if the NYT doesn't dox Scott in a first article, his identity is now part of the story, and he'll be doxed in various major media, probably including a second article from the NYT.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Moloch Hasn’t Won · 2019-12-30T01:42:35.051Z · LW · GW

Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency is about why businesses fail if they ignore all other values in favor of maximizing profit-- they lose too much flexibility.

I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Book Review: Design Principles of Biological Circuits · 2019-11-06T15:53:09.510Z · LW · GW

I never would have thought biological systems are random, but spaghetti code isn't about randomness, it's about complex interdependence. This being said, the book looks really valuable-- even if can only help sort out the simpler parts of biology, that's quite a bit.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on How to Make Billions of Dollars Reducing Loneliness · 2019-09-01T10:46:27.270Z · LW · GW

There may be another piece-- the ability to count on each other for help.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-28T13:43:48.396Z · LW · GW

I think the anime thing is partly feeling a compulsion to say something combined with availability bias. Of course, there's also an element of completely ignoring consent.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on More Dakka · 2019-07-20T07:22:20.412Z · LW · GW

There was someone who was interviewed on Tim Ferriss who recommended finding out what you care about and spending a lot more on that and what you don't care about and spending a lot less on that. In particular, there was a suggestion to think about spending ten times as much on what you care about-- you've got a chance of turning up improvements which aren't nearly that expensive.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Transhumanists Don't Need Special Dispositions · 2018-12-09T17:49:08.299Z · LW · GW

My impression from a few arguments I've been in is that there are people who simply don't/can't believe that health extension is possible, so they can't assimilate arguments based on the idea of health extension. You say life extension and they hear miserable old age extension.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on East Coast Rationalist Megameetup 2018 · 2018-12-03T20:45:58.763Z · LW · GW

I think I'm on a waiting list.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on East Coast Rationalist Megameetup 2018 · 2018-12-03T19:45:53.156Z · LW · GW

Do I pay now, or when a space opens up?

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Leto among the Machines · 2018-10-11T12:28:13.417Z · LW · GW

It's a fascinating essay, but non-automation isn't all that great. In particular, Confucian China had foot-binding for nearly a thousand years-- mothers slowly breaking their daughter's feet to make the daughters more marriageable.

It's possible that in the long run, societies with automation are even worse than societies without it, but I don't think that's proven.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on The Mystery of the Haunted Rationalist · 2018-05-04T11:10:59.846Z · LW · GW

This also implies that it's a good idea to avoid houses with a history of mysterious deaths. The deaths were no longer mysterious when carbon monoxide poisoning was figured out, but before that?

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Open thread, January 29 - ∞ · 2018-02-02T08:26:53.881Z · LW · GW

I was very fond of this site. There were excellent essays, and the discussion structure suited me very well. I'm more of a short form writer. Also, the way it was easy to find old material and conveniently add to old threads is a feature that ssc doesn't have.

The big block of unchanging recommendations at the top of LW2 gets on my nerves.

This being said, the resident troll squeezed a lot of the fun out of LW1, and getting to be moderator-- and then discovering I didn't have adequate moderation tools-- gave me something of an ugh field about the place. And now it's over. It was good when it was good.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Happiness Is a Chore · 2017-12-20T16:10:57.533Z · LW · GW

I'm somewhat annoyed that this claims there's a solution to becoming happier, goes on at some length, and doesn't include the solution.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Ureshiku Naritai · 2017-12-20T15:35:23.704Z · LW · GW

So, some years later, and I'm surprised I was upset. I consider this to be progress.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Melting Gold, and Organizational Capacity · 2017-12-13T17:48:23.060Z · LW · GW

There's an alternate approach I've seen in Neo-Paganism-- have a structure for rituals, and a high proportion of people who can improvise within the framework.

I don't know whether this would work for rationalist rituals (maybe if we start having smaller more frequent rituals), but I'm mentioning it for completeness.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Living in an Inadequate World · 2017-11-11T12:08:06.985Z · LW · GW

I think the long history of "getting the homeless ready for housing" rather than just giving them housing is an example of civilizational inadequacy.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Why I am not a Quaker (even though it often seems as though I should be) · 2017-09-28T12:10:35.379Z · LW · GW

"Suburbanization makes it costly to raise children humanely; parents are forced to choose between sending their kids off to a designated abuse facility, or designating at least one parent to be a full-time caretaker. This work cannot be shared among communities to realize economies of scale, because most adults are busy far away at work, and in any event you can’t let your kids run around freely because nearly every house abuts an active road with deadly automobile traffic."

I believe another way that raising children outside the school system is that, while it's possible to home school your own children, setting up a shared school with a few other families would require meeting a lot of requirements.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Beta - First Impressions · 2017-09-22T17:36:24.026Z · LW · GW

First, I'm seconding a couple of things. There should be a comment box.

And please don't have huge pictures for static material at the top of the home page. There's a lot to be said for tabs with words on them at the top. I realize three lines for a menu is fairly standard these days, but it still leaves me feeling as though the site is a puzzle which has to be solved.

In the spirit of experimentation, I tried out the numbers on the strip under the comment space. Being able to change font size and line spacing probably has its uses, but the one thing that isn't offered is the ability to get back to the standard comment proportions. I'd have done that if I could.

I read Notes from an Apocalypse <a href="">, which I think is a fair test of reading long form on the site.

I'm fine with the font with the serifs, but I found myself really wanting some indication of what site I was on. A little color, a border, something. This place is less distinctive than a mainstream news site.

I couldn't get the submit link to work-- that is, I entered the link and the title and hit submit, and nothing happened.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-22T09:35:17.025Z · LW · GW

I'm in!

Thanks very much.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-21T22:51:58.844Z · LW · GW

I've done that. Still haven't gotten an email. I've checked my spam folder.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-21T16:48:21.668Z · LW · GW

I didn't get the password reset email.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-20T13:01:42.484Z · LW · GW

LW2.0 doesn't seem to be live yet, but when it is, will I be able to use my 1.0 username and password?

Comment by NancyLebovitz on David C Denkenberger on Food Production after a Sun Obscuring Disaster · 2017-09-18T23:30:09.999Z · LW · GW

"One obvious candidate for such a generic cost effective safety intervention is a small but fully autonomous city on mars, or antarctica, or the moon, or under the ocean (or perhaps four such cities, just in case) that could produce food independently of the food production system traditionally used on the easily habitable parts of Earth."

That sort of thing might improve the odds for the human race, but it doesn't sound like it would do much for the average person who already exists.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T20:50:14.407Z · LW · GW

I'm fond of LW (or at least its descendants). I'm somewhat weird myself, and more tolerant of weirdness than many.

It has taken me years and some effort to get a no doubt incomplete understanding of people who are repulsed by weirdness.

From my point of view, you are proposing to destroy something I like which has been somewhat useful in the hopes of creating a community which might not happen.

The community you imagine might be a very good thing. It may have to be created by the people who will be in it. Maybe you could start the survey process?

I'm hoping that the LW 2.0 software will be open source. The world needs more good discussion venues.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T19:32:02.012Z · LW · GW

How about the boring simplicity of having downvote limits? Maybe something around one downvote/24 hours-- not cumulative.

If you're feeling generous, maybe add a downvote/24 hours per 1000 karma, with a maximum or 5 downvotes/24 hours.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T19:27:56.097Z · LW · GW

My impression is that you don't understand how communities form. I could be mistaken, but I think communities form because people discover they share a desire rather than because there's a venue that suits them-- the venue is necessary, but stays empty unless the desire comes into play.

" I'm thinking people who are important for existential risk and/or rationality such as: psychologists, senior political advisers, national security people, and synthetic biologists. I'd also include people in the effective altruism community, especially as some effective altruists have a low opinion of the rationalist community despite our goals being aligned."

Is there something they want to do which would be better served by having a rationality community that suits them better than the communities they've got already?

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T14:37:09.102Z · LW · GW

It seems to me that you want to squeeze a lot of the fun out of the site.

I'm not sure how far it would be consistent with having a single focus for rationality online, but perhaps there should be a section or a nearby site for more dignified discussion.

I think the people you want to attract are likely to be busy, and not necessarily interested in interviews and testing for a rather hypothetical project, but I could be wrong.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T14:29:35.378Z · LW · GW

Metafilter has continued to be a pretty good site even though it requires a small fee to join. There's also a requirement to post a few comments (you can comment for free but need to be a member to do top level posts) and wait a week after sending in money. And it's actively moderated.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T00:24:28.935Z · LW · GW

I've tried it and it's very fast. I haven't come up with good ideas for testing it yet.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-15T17:51:07.305Z · LW · GW

I'm hoping there will be something like the feature at ssc to choose the time when the site considers comments to be new. It's frustrating to not be able to recover the pink borders on new comments on posts at LW.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-15T16:19:49.342Z · LW · GW

Thank you for developing this.

I'm reminded of an annoying feature of LW 1.0. The search function was pretty awful. The results weren't even in reverse chronological order.

I'm not sure how important better search is, but considering your very reasonable emphasis on continuity of discussion, it might matter a lot.

Requiring tags while offering a list of standard tags might also help.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on 2017 LessWrong Survey · 2017-09-13T16:32:29.297Z · LW · GW

I have taken the survey.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Heuristics for textbook selection · 2017-09-13T00:37:32.656Z · LW · GW

If you're using Amazon, look at the comments, not just the star ratings.

There are people who like a book, but don't seem to have read it. So far as I know, the "this comment was useful" is a good guide to finding the detailed, specific comments.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Doing a big survey on work, stress, and productivity. Feedback / anything you're curious about? · 2017-08-30T16:57:44.422Z · LW · GW

Discussion of different office set-ups. Open, own office, shared with one person, etc.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on The Unyoga Manifesto · 2017-08-04T23:52:52.028Z · LW · GW

You would probably like this blog.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on [deleted post] 2017-07-18T00:55:58.370Z

An actual military has life-and-death work. This might even be more important than consent.

A military-style "boot camp" for delinquents is a cargo cult by comparison.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2017-04-28T17:00:46.386Z · LW · GW

Thanks. I hope that someone gets around to actually looking at the clothes and/or paintings.

Comment by NancyLebovitz on Stupid Questions May 2017 · 2017-04-27T06:09:38.109Z · LW · GW

There's a difference between "knowing X" and having X be a default behavior. There's also a difference between knowing X and being able to teach it to people who think differently than oneself or have different preconceptions.