Open Thread for January 17 - 23 2014 2014-01-17T13:26:59.378Z


Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, May 15 - May 21, 2017 · 2017-05-17T20:49:11.368Z · LW · GW

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living This is a good book.

Think about all the regrets and bad things that have happened to you, that you don't know about – the time you dropped money or missed out on a life changing opportunity or mistakes you have made that never got your attention. You probably don't or won't because you don't feel much for things that you don't know that happened to you. So it is possible to feel no emotion about negative things. You have the power to hold no opinion about things, you just need to cultivate it. Regret is much like fear, you have come to your fate by dreading your fate.

Comment by niceguyanon on The Ancient God Who Rules High School · 2017-04-07T16:32:06.498Z · LW · GW

I don't think that the "show up neatly groomed and dressed" thing is teaching kids to emit particular social signals that is less suitable to a programmer coming to an interview. Both scenarios are about conforming to social norms and for students that happens to be literally neatly groomed/dressed, which for the programmer means no business suit. It's just more useful to use the phrase neatly groomed/dressed than socially appropriate because for most things socially appropriate is neatly groomed/dressed.

Being socially appropriate is not overrated conditional on IQ – you have already established that the programmer (presumably your high IQ example) is aware of the dangers of coming in like a weirdo in a business suit to an interview. Why wouldn't the younger version of this person also want to not look like a weirdo to their peers while in school?

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, March 13 - March 19, 2017 · 2017-03-17T18:59:15.379Z · LW · GW

I think there was a distinction made between planned C-sections and unplanned C-sections (medical emergencies), so that they were able differentiate outcomes following emergencies like a breech baby vs a completely planned C-section. And I think it showed that show C-sections overall were more risky than vaginal birth and long term health was better for vaginal births.

I haven't done any google fu on this topic, other than reading a few passages in a book.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, March 13 - March 19, 2017 · 2017-03-16T15:11:49.779Z · LW · GW

I am constantly reminded of that fact daily!

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, March 13 - March 19, 2017 · 2017-03-16T15:01:19.028Z · LW · GW

Ideally 100% of those that medically need C-sections will get it, and those that don't wont.

I think there was a study that was cited in the book about the reduced C-sections rates, but of course the devil is in the details like you say, best to do your own research. I have personally updated my beliefs in favor being more resilient to time pressures of labor and that use of a doula isn't just a waste of money as I previously had thought.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, March 13 - March 19, 2017 · 2017-03-16T14:24:53.943Z · LW · GW

I am reading Expecting Better, a book about evidence based pregnancy and in it, there are passages about the high rates of C-sections and why it might be. The conclusion was that one medical intervention, whether by drugs or over-monitoring, usually leads to another and another and you end up with a C-section. Non C-section births have better outcomes. So you want to avoid it if you can. The book also mentions that the use of a doula can reduce rates of C-sections to less than 10% from modern U.S. rates of 30%. That is very impressive. Why and how?

I interviewed a professional doula and just asked quite plainly how does her service provide such a dramatic decrease in C-sections. Her personal experience if she is to be believed, is in line with the 10% figure. Her answer is that by being an advocate for the mother and delaying any unnecessary medical intervention in the delivery room, and by providing a calm and coping environment for the mother, she is able to have better outcomes. This means not bringing the mother to the hospital too early.

The way she described it was that the delivery room is a high stress situation where there are doctors and nurses who are supposed to be doing something, and when nothing is happening, they tend to make things happen, when the right thing to do is just wait. Doulas often go to your home before you are in active labor and bring you to the hospital no earlier than you have too. This is the key, by going to the hospital too early you are increasing your chances of having some medical intervention.

So the take away is that there is good evidence that doulas are effective and do so by:

  • timing the right time to go to the hospital
  • preparing a mother to be calm and mentally strong
  • advocating for a mother in the delivery room for more time, before intervention
Comment by niceguyanon on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-13T17:47:50.188Z · LW · GW

Some are. But not all.

But how many? It seems more likely that most terrorist have shitty lives and got exposed to a dangerous and bad meme. The alternative would be that there is a certain genetic demographic that is predisposed to committing terrorism, sounds far fetched. If Christians during the crusades had modern technology 1000 years ago, we would probably have seen the kinds of solo terrorism we see today. It was really hard to be a lone fanatic trying to kill 10s of people back then with a blade.

Comment by niceguyanon on [deleted post] 2017-03-10T15:25:06.850Z

There seems to be an effort to propagate...

I don't think so, or just a trivial amount. Looking at downvotes or lack of upvotes, I don't get that sense at all. Political talk is almost always discouraged and when it does go on, its fairly even handed.

Comment by niceguyanon on why people romantice magic over most science. · 2017-03-09T15:47:59.937Z · LW · GW

Similarly I have mused that the closes thing we have to magic in the real world is the ability to forecast.

Comment by niceguyanon on The price you pay for arriving to class on time · 2017-02-24T16:29:46.401Z · LW · GW

Tangentially related, I'm surprised that students misjudge how high the cost of being late is to the cost of arriving early. I have a suspicion that people who insist on being exactly one minute early and no more are made up of two groups, the very efficient and the best procrastinators that are often late and when on time they get to pat themselves on the back for being efficient.

Getting to class early just to sit in the front row is the easiest way to boost your grade for most classes, IMO as an armchair psychologist.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017 · 2017-02-22T21:00:10.291Z · LW · GW

I dunno, it's hard enough trying to determine if and where profit was made, in order to tax it. If we didn't tax profits and only distributions then there would be no taxes to collect. Companies and individuals would all claim that any profit are being retained for future investment or for hoarding and not actually distributed to owners. That is why we tax non distributed retained earning.

Comment by niceguyanon on Stupid Questions February 2017 · 2017-02-21T17:07:03.473Z · LW · GW

I understand now. Thanks!

Comment by niceguyanon on Stupid Questions February 2017 · 2017-02-10T19:20:22.926Z · LW · GW

So if we can distinguish between

"I know the probabilities involved and they are 50% for X and 50% for Y" and "I don't know".

Could we further distinguish between

a uniform distribution on the 0 to 1 range and "I don't know"?

Let's say a biased coin with unknown probability of landing heads is tossed, p is uniform on (0,1) and "I don't know" means you can't predict better than randomly guessing. So saying p is 50% doesn't matter because it doesn't beat random.

But what if we tossed the coin twice, and I had you guess twice, before the tosses. If you get at least one guess correct then you get to keep your life. Assuming you want to play to keep your life, then how would you play? Coin is still p uniform on (0,1), but it seems like "I don't know" doesn't mean the same thing anymore, because you can play in a way that can better predict the outcome of keeping your life.

You would guess (H,T) or (T,H) but avoid randomly guessing because it would produce things like (H,H) which is really bad because if p is uniform on (0,1), then probability of heads is 90% is just as likely as probability of heads is 10%, but heads at 10% is really bad for (H,H), so bad that even 90% heads doesn't really help that much more.

If p is 90% or 10%, guessing (H,T) or (T,H) would result in the same small probability of dying at 9%. But (H,H) would result in at best 1% or 81% chance of dying. Saying I don't know in this scenario doesn't feel the same as I don't know in the first scenario. I am probably confused.

Comment by niceguyanon on The Social Substrate · 2017-02-09T21:13:41.695Z · LW · GW

I enjoyed the post and appreciate the additional links for reading.

The main character's reaction is sort of unhealthy/fake - better would have been to clarify that you overheard them bantering earlier.

I did not feel that way at all, the reaction is simple and appropriate. Imagine how clunky and awkward it would be for the main character trying to explain that in fact you over heard the banter and that you don't want the mom to think, that you think its OK for there to be rude things said about her son, in front of her. That would come off as weird.

it's not so much that wearing a gold watch isn't about knowing the time, it's that the owner's actual desires got distorted by the lens of common knowledge. Knowing that someone would be paying attention to them to infer their desires, they filtered their desires to focus on the ones they thought would make them look good. This also can easily come off as inauthentic, and it seems fairly clear why to me: if you're filtering your desires to make yourself look good, then that's a signal that you need to fake your desires or else you won't look good.

The gold watch wearer does not come off as inauthentic to me. If I had more information, like that the person was not well off then I would. Just because the gold watch wearer wants to look good in front of me doesn't make it inauthentic nor does it mean the wearer is faking it. There isn't much difference between the fashion and hygiene example and the gold watch example. Putting in the effort to look good by being well dressed and clean (presuming that is in fact true, people might think you fail at both), is the same as using money to wear a gold watch to convey wealth. All three attempt to convey some information about the person, and nothing is inauthentic if it's true. How else do you let people know you got money?

Comment by niceguyanon on Strategic Thinking: Paradigm Selection · 2017-01-24T19:28:19.583Z · LW · GW

This is a really good example of when the organization does gets it right on the big picture, but it seems like they didn't pick the right paradigm. An observation of mine is that organizations often seem dysfunctional to a lot of participants because they aren't part of the profit center or privy to the overall strategy. A company can be fully aware of dysfunction or inefficiencies within, and find it acceptable, because fixing it or making someone happy isn't worth the resources.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 23 - Jan. 29, 2017 · 2017-01-24T18:21:30.736Z · LW · GW

Suggestion to sticky the welcome thread. Stickying the welcome thread to the sidebar would encourage participation/comments/content. And perhaps in the future add emphasis on communication norms to the thread, specifically that negative reception and/or lack of reception is more obvious on LessWrong – So have thick skin and do not take it personal. I'd imagine that quality control will be what it has always been, critical comments.

Comment by niceguyanon on Metrics to evaluate a Presidency · 2017-01-24T17:14:14.996Z · LW · GW

Admin intervention is way too much.

Comment by niceguyanon on Self medicating for Schizophrenia with - cigarettes ? · 2017-01-24T13:35:33.634Z · LW · GW

But tobacco is still bad! E-Cigs are better.

Comment by niceguyanon on Evaluating Moral Theories · 2017-01-23T21:44:30.486Z · LW · GW

What are your own thoughts about the problem of monopolies, are they even a problem at all? The standard answer is that they either would not occur or would be a beneficial thing.

Comment by niceguyanon on Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement · 2017-01-19T20:08:56.300Z · LW · GW

My contention, however, is that racial prejudice is a factor in real-world police shootings/violence.

I'm not disagreeing with you but I just want to add to the conversation that I think the SSC comment is closest to the issue when he/she said:

Still, the incentive is there. And it’s based on math – racial prejudice not required.

Because I believe people tend to follow incentives, my current best guess is that police do over-profile (target the higher risk groups more than the actual risk differences would suggest), and they are going to, and the only question is to what extent this can be mitigated.

Let's say you and another guard are manning a castle gate, and there is a serial killer outside in the village of 100 people. A peasant knocks and says "let me in". You reply "I am sorry I value my life more than yours I can not let you in, even if you are probably not the killer". The other guard says "I despise all peasants, I would never let you in" This repeats again and again. Both you and the other guard have caused a disproportionate amount of impact on innocent peasants, and your actions are indistinguishable, yet you are not prejudiced. If you change the mind of the other guard to not hate peasants, the predicament of the poor peasants do not change – you both still refuse entry. That doesn't mean reducing prejudice can't help. Imagine a third guard that is also a peasant hating misanthrope but he takes his hate to another level, so that when a peasant knocks, the third guard says to the others "Hey this guy is a peasant, let's just kill him". You and the second guard relieve the third guard of duty and that really did help the situation of the peasants, you saved them from violent prejudice, but the problem of innocent villagers stuck outside the wall remain. Getting rid of the third guard does help, but doesn't solve everything.

Comment by niceguyanon on Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement · 2017-01-19T18:22:33.777Z · LW · GW

Is it fair? No. Is it racist? Also no.

Agree, and I think this is a really important and overlooked implication, that two tribes will talk past each other on. Unfair discrimination persists even with rational, non-racist, greedy capitalist.

A less charged example would be life insurance policies. Almost everyone would agree that mortality tables are acceptable; almost everyone could also imagine themselves getting older, and could imagine themselves as above average with in their group. The insurer will rationally charge the older group more premium. Atypical healthier older people within this group have experience unfair discrimination and the insurer is rationally non-prejudiced.

So when one tribe says that markets will punish racist, it doesn't fix unfair discrimination. And when other tribe says that there is unfair discrimination, that doesn't mean there is rampant racism. I personally feel a lot of compassion towards atypical individuals within a disadvantaged group, but how could we improve?

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016 · 2017-01-18T20:33:41.034Z · LW · GW

If I remember correctly username2 is a shared account, so the person are talking to now might not be whom you have had previously conversed with. Just thought you should know because I don't want you to mistake the account with a static person.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016 · 2017-01-18T19:22:16.285Z · LW · GW

It was but it speaks of his underlying ideas and character to even be in the position to do that.

What do you mean by this? Assuming its a joke, why does it speaks to his character and underlying ideas; why would it, it wasn't meant for you to take seriously.

What would you want me to respond, if at all?

Probably not at all.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016 · 2017-01-18T17:20:13.030Z · LW · GW

Why I think people are not engaging you. But don't take this as a criticism of your ideas or questions.

  • You have been strongly associated with a certain movement, and people might not want to engage you in conversation even on different topics, because they are afraid your true intention is to lead the conversation back to ideas that they didn't want to talk with you about in the first place.

  • I think username2 was making a non-serious cheeky comment which went over your head and you responded with a wall of text touching on several ideas. People sometimes just want small exchanges and they have no confidence in you to keep exchanges short.

  • Agreeing with the sentiment that people probably aren't engaging with this question because it's too tiresome to summarize all the information that is available, and what is available is probably incomplete as well. By asking such a broad question rather than a narrower, specific, or applied question, you won't get many responses.

Comment by niceguyanon on Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B) · 2017-01-17T19:09:00.327Z · LW · GW

Do we have the same definition of a troll? Just wondering because the term seems to have drifted and I wonder where I stand. One sided flaming is what I would call it, because the person is hostile and insulting, resulting from emotional discussion. IMO Trolling requires the deliberate intent to provoke, as if that was his whole reason to post here. It's more likely that this person is dead serious, but socially inept (too strong?)

This person has written volumes of stuff in various places for years, seems unlikely that he's just messing with people for amusement. More likely that he is a true believer, just really bad at communication. I'd say Lumifer is lightly trolling (somewhat acceptably) because he is egging this person on, knowing full well that this person will make a spectacle of themselves.

Comment by niceguyanon on Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B) · 2017-01-17T10:04:45.964Z · LW · GW

Is it possible to use moderation tools to hide the parent comment or move it. It doesn't even belong here and others have been nice enough to offer good feedback regardless. This is a welcome thread, and it's being derailed with bizarre behavior.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016 · 2017-01-16T18:39:52.294Z · LW · GW

I suspect it degrades the quality of the site...

Your first paragraph venting your frustration at the 2 karma rule was unnecessary, but cool you realized that.

I think this post is fine as an Open Thread or as an introduction post. I don't see why it is necessary for its own discussion. Plus it seems like you are making an article stating that you will make an article. I don't think you need to do that. Just come right out and say what you have to say.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 09 - Jan. 15, 2017 · 2017-01-13T21:50:33.597Z · LW · GW

I have the same question as this OP. I didn't think any of the answers were helpful enough. Basically everything I could find regarding Assange's asylum with Ecuador stems from the threat of Sweden extraditing him to the U.S., however the threat of politically motivated deportation remains regardless of what happens in Sweden; the U.K. can just as well do it.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 09 - Jan. 15, 2017 · 2017-01-13T17:59:47.119Z · LW · GW

I don't know what to think about Ego Depletion. When I first read about it, it felt quite intuitive and the research on it was robust. It came up everywhere I read. Then the whole replication crisis thing happened and serious doubts were cast on it. I updated towards a weaker effect.

I haven't given it much thought since, until I was recently reminded of the study about mental fatigue on parole board judges and how chances of granting parole were greatest at the beginning of the work day and right after a food break(replenish mental resources).

If Ego Depletion is weak at best then what is going on with the parole study? My current epistemic status is that the effect is real and not debunked; but the effect may not be as universal (good for predicting parole and not so good for contrived cognitive experiments).

Comment by niceguyanon on Dominic Cummings: how the Brexit referendum was won · 2017-01-13T14:37:28.567Z · LW · GW

Being smart can make you more susceptible to some biases.

Agree but Dominic is making a much stronger claim in this excerpt, and I wish he would provide more evidence. It is a big claim that

  • the more educated are prone to irrational political opinions
  • average incomes are less likely to express political opinions to send signals.

These are great anecdotes but have there been any studies indicating a link between social status and willingness to express political views?

Comment by niceguyanon on Improve comments by tagging claims · 2017-01-11T21:17:29.951Z · LW · GW

You have been noticeably not commenting. Care to comment why?

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 09 - Jan. 15, 2017 · 2017-01-10T16:44:30.282Z · LW · GW

At this point, it seems like if it was written about in Cialdini's Influence, you can safely assume it's not real.

How well has the ideas presented in Cialdini's book held up? Scarcity heuristic, Physical attractiveness stereotype, and Reciprocity I thought were pretty solid and hasn't come under scrutiny, yet at least.

Comment by niceguyanon on How to talk rationally about cults · 2017-01-10T15:54:21.829Z · LW · GW

I understand your criticism much better now.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 09 - Jan. 15, 2017 · 2017-01-10T15:42:27.640Z · LW · GW

The endowment effect, or priming, maps pretty well to a lab.

Are you saying that cognitive biases like endowment effect and priming map better to lab settings therefore are less susceptible to contrived experiments to prove them like ego depletion?

I don't know whether or not these map well to a lab or not, but priming research is one of the major areas under going a replication crisis; not sure about the endowment effect.

Comment by niceguyanon on How to talk rationally about cults · 2017-01-09T15:58:05.139Z · LW · GW

Is your objection really that the topic has no relevance to LW or that because the information is found in so many other places that it has no relevance?

I appreciate summaries on LW even if they are found elsewhere because it provides for comments and discussion from a very particular group whose input which I prioritize(over other internet strangers). I often do a quick search on LW for new ideas I am exposed to, to get the LW spin. Say you just discovered this forum and you decided you like how everyone aspires to be a rationalist, but you have gaps in your knowledge about cults, this article might be far more informational than what you can find on a Google search. A Google search on cults leads to lots of websites on christian apologetics, not exactly the places I would encourage people to go to find truth. The information can be found in thousands of places but the places matter– a rationality oriented forum vs a website you are not quite sure of it's motives.

Comment by niceguyanon on Mysterious Go Master Blitzes Competition, Rattles Game Community · 2017-01-04T18:21:25.974Z · LW · GW

They have confirmed it is AlphaGo.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Jan. 02 - Jan. 08, 2017 · 2017-01-03T15:06:03.479Z · LW · GW

Could you provide a simple linkage as to why the effect(less I know, easier it seems for the other specialized person) is a consequence of the availability bias?

One connection I could draw from the effect to the availability bias is the ease of recall of the less specialized person of successful resolutions of the specialized person. For example, a manager who has numerous recollections of being presented a problem and assigning it to the subordinate for a fix. The manager only sees the problem and the eventual fix, and none of the difficult roadblocks encountered by the workers, therefore the manager tends to underestimate the difficulty. I'm not sure if this is a connection you would agree with.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T20:15:14.443Z · LW · GW

Well it would certainly help me if all these Econo-technological optimists who took that survey speak up and tell me what they think about UBI please!

But I thank you for your simple linkage.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T19:06:47.973Z · LW · GW

This means you're surprised that people who think that the economic growth will be high are strong supporters of basic income.


I can propose a simple linkage as to why this is so: the no-stagnation people are (technological) optimists. They believe that in the near future there will be plenty of value/money/goods -- enough for everyone. If so, in this environment of plenty it makes sense to provide a UBI to everyone.

That is what I am trying to figure out; is this what they think? I have never encountered that way of thinking before, hence why I would be confused. It would seem to me that technological optimists predicting a future of plenty for everyone, would think it makes no sense to provide UBI.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T18:16:44.721Z · LW · GW

Why the idea of economic well-being remaining the same supports the basic income proposal?

Wait isn't that the point? I'm not saying basic income will or will not work, just that the idea of economic well-being remaining the same or perhaps worse, might already be an undesirable outcome for those that strongly support basic income?

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T17:54:41.375Z · LW · GW

I'll try: The main thesis is that economic growth has slowed in the United States and in other advanced economies, as a result of falling rates of innovation >>> belief that further advancing automation will not raise wages and stagnant wages will persist, >>>support basic income.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T17:09:45.909Z · LW · GW

Damn it, that was the worst time to make a typo. I meant Stagnation. But back to the point, I'm not following how someone could believe in the Great stagnation as presented in wikipedia to not having it be a motivating factor to support basic income.

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T16:04:46.420Z · LW · GW

But the surveyed belief was about entering the great stagflation.

EDIT: I mean stagnation

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Dec. 12 - Dec. 18, 2016 · 2016-12-14T15:38:14.165Z · LW · GW

So the last survey has me a little surprised and confused regarding the amount of people who strongly disagree with entering great stagnation and strongly agree with basic income, all across the board.

Can someone shed some light on why this might be? I'm surprised because I would expect strong supporters of basic income to have some belief in the coming technological automation unemployment. You see this all the time in r/futurology, where they are always posting up articles talking about how jobs are going away and not coming back.

I'm not saying they are right, but the point goes to show that these two beliefs sorta go hand in hand, or at least from what I've seen. So what about LW made the survey so different? Is it that I have the wrong idea about what the great stagnation is?

Comment by niceguyanon on Unfortunate Information · 2016-12-06T14:05:36.408Z · LW · GW

I'm guilty of over updating towards stupid/crazy when ever someone has a cranky belief. I was on board with the bullying of Ben Carson, but in hindsight the man is a neurosurgeon; I'm pretty sure he's smarter than me.

Comment by niceguyanon on Increase Your Child’s Working Memory · 2016-12-01T15:24:50.106Z · LW · GW

Since you have a child, have you heard of Elimination Communication and what is your opinion?

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Nov. 28 - Dec. 04, 2016 · 2016-12-01T14:14:00.669Z · LW · GW

Agree. There have been an influx of posts and almost no comments to go with them, looks sad. SSC's most recent post is really interesting but almost no comments, perhaps because it has already been discussed on SSC, maybe this will help.

Comment by niceguyanon on Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015) · 2016-11-30T15:49:24.791Z · LW · GW

we are all 'useful idiots' of a sort.

It's sheep all the way up!

Comment by niceguyanon on Open thread, Nov. 28 - Dec. 04, 2016 · 2016-11-29T13:37:25.945Z · LW · GW

I have already spent hours researching this topic.

I applaud your effort and hope your hours spent means others' saved.

Comment by niceguyanon on Old urine samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics show massive cheating · 2016-11-28T13:05:46.553Z · LW · GW

Like no Aloe in Aloe products.