Insulin Signaling and Autism 2011-10-20T23:00:18.876Z · score: 0 (13 votes)


Comment by play_therapist on Attention! Financial scam targeting Less Wrong users · 2016-03-04T15:13:16.622Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I and some of my friends have gotten emails from scammers who say they want to buy several paintings from my artist website, but are moving and want to use a bank check- or something similar. What I have done is reply that I will only accept payments through PayPal. Then I never hear from them again. Bitcoins would also work. The problem with testing it out by accepting a check or Bank order and depositing it in case it is for real is that you will get hit by a hefty fee from the bank if it bounces.

Comment by play_therapist on More "Stupid" Questions · 2013-08-02T02:34:35.687Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think that you must differ from the average person in some way that makes it not enjoyable for you. Perhaps you are more sensitive to certain sounds and find them unpleasant. Perhaps you weren't exposed to music at a very young age. Your brain might be "wired" differently than average.

Comment by play_therapist on More "Stupid" Questions · 2013-08-02T02:25:55.982Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You might try attending a poetry reading or two, Hearing them read and discussed might help.

Comment by play_therapist on Life-changing decisions pertaining to education. Help. · 2012-09-22T22:45:28.776Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's more of a range in American universities. A large percentage of the U.S. population attends post-secondary school. It's a large country with hundreds of colleges and universities. My impression is that our top colleges are comparable to Oxford and Cambridge. Bates and Bowdoin are reputed to be good schools. The question is how they compare to the colleges he could go to elsewhere. I, also, wonder how and why they were selected. Perhaps they are offering financial aid?

Comment by play_therapist on Delayed Gratification vs. a Time-Dependent Utility Function · 2012-05-06T16:54:23.315Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think that studying math and becoming a math professor would put you in an excellent position to work toward preventing an unfriendly AI. First of all, you could, if you chose to, study computer science and artificial intelligence at the same time. Second of all, you will be in a position to influence others who may some day be working in the field. You can start a LessWrong chapter at the university you attend and the one you teach at. You can lecture/talk to your students at the importance of caution and safe guards in what ever they work on in the future.

Comment by play_therapist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-29T22:29:14.433Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I love it. I didn't realize you could write fiction so well!

Comment by play_therapist on What are YOU doing against risks from AI? · 2012-03-17T21:22:36.858Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The only thing I've done recently is send money to the Singularity Institute. I did, however, give birth to and raise a son who is dedicated to saving the world. I'm contemplating changing my user name to Sarah Connor. :)

Comment by play_therapist on Feed the spinoff heuristic! · 2012-02-09T18:59:39.224Z · score: 2 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I believe marketers do use psychology and many, if not most, Americans do buy "tons of shit that they don't need and that won't make them happy!"

Comment by play_therapist on Giving: is money better than options? · 2012-01-05T19:25:53.572Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Re: charitable gift funds. Fidelity calls it the Charitable Gift Fund, I know there are similar funds managed by other places. The way it works is that you transfer your appreciated stocks to it and take the tax deduction in the year they are transferred. Fidelity sells the stock and you elect which of their funds (growth, bonds, etc.) the proceeds should be invested in. When you wish to donate to a charity, you go online and direct Fidelity to make the donation. It must be to a 501c3 approved charity and a minimum of $50 must be donated. It's as quick and easy as writing a check and you can make the donation anonymous if you wish. Fidelity does collect some management fees for the service, but they aren't very high.

Comment by play_therapist on Several Topics that May or May Not deserve their own Post · 2011-11-29T18:33:56.544Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think that some times children really want to know why, but your idea should usually work well in those cases, too. You're basically suggesting distracting the child so that they forget the undesirable thing they were asking or doing, and move on. That is a basic parenting technique.

Comment by play_therapist on Several Topics that May or May Not deserve their own Post · 2011-11-29T16:03:25.917Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Re: The why questions- I am both a child therapist and the mother of jimrandomh. I don't remember him ever doing that and the children I work with ( I see about 18 on a regular basis) never do it to me. I think tetsuo55 is right in his observation that children tend to do it when they are being ignored. As an only child of older parents, jimrandomh was virtually never ignored, and, of course, the children I see for individual therapy sessions already have my attention.

Re: "Good parents"- A few observations- The age of puberty has been dropping, the average age of marriage (or settling into committed relationships) has been rising. Not too long ago people got married shortly after they reached puberty.

There were no birth control pills until the 1960's. The early birth control pills were of higher doses and had more side effects. Condoms existed but were not as reliable as they are today. Abortions were not legal in the U.S. until the early 1970's. Aid to Families of Dependent Children, otherwise known as welfare, now modified into Transitional Assistance, didn't exist in most states until the 1960's. In other words, prior to the late 1960's, the chances were good that if you were sexually active, you would get pregnant. If you did, your options were much more limited.

Then came the sexual revolution. There were birth control pills. Abortions became legal. Visitation restrictions in dorms were eliminated. Herpes Simplex 2 was pretty much unknown until the late 1970's, AIDS was first identified in the U.S. in 1981. I had the good fortune to turn 18 in 1970- except for the Vietnam War, it was a great time and I had fun.

Parents today, however, worry about their teens not only getting pregnant, but AIDS, herpes and other venereal diseases that weren't around in my youth. In addition, with younger puberty, the worries come at a younger age, when teens are less able to handle it. (I had a 12 year old girl tell me that she was thinking of having sex with her boyfriend, a Caucasian 4th or 5th generation American girl from a working class community.) I don't think it's just to conform to the societal archetype of Good Parent, there are real things to worry about.

Comment by play_therapist on Why would we think artists perform better on drugs ? · 2011-10-30T16:44:07.463Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Those great artists who were or are known to be mentally ill or drug users make for interesting news stories and articles. That probably creates the impression that it's more common than it is. Also, the life style of successful artists some times encourages drug use. In some cases the artist might be great despite the use of drugs rather than with the help of drugs.

Jimrandomh makes a good point about not lumping all drugs together. That is, also, true of mental illness. Take bipolar disorder, for example. Van Gogh is thought to have had it. He probably produced large quantities of work during manic phases, but then he took his own life in a depressive phase. Those who suffer from severe depression or anxiety probably are not very productive.

Comment by play_therapist on A signaling theory of class x politics interaction · 2011-10-18T02:23:08.044Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It is true that in many cases people need some income on the side to survive on welfare. It depends. The level of benefits differs by state as does the cost of living. For a family to survive on welfare alone in Massachusetts without subsidized housing is pretty much impossible. With section 8 housing, which doesn't include utilities,it is still tough, if not impossible. If, however, you live in one of the housing projects, heat is included. Your rent is a fraction of the family income, I believe it's 25%. If you're there, get medicaid, food stamps, free breakfast and lunch in school for your children, and extra food from food pantries if needed, I think it is doable. Also, it is permitted, even required in many cases, for parents receiving welfare to work a certain number of hours.

In any case, I'm not saying that a certain amount of cheating of the system isn't justified, even some times necessary. What I am saying is that people who live nearby and are struggling themselves and see abuses are some times disenchanted with the system.

Comment by play_therapist on A signaling theory of class x politics interaction · 2011-10-18T01:24:49.306Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I believe there's probably something to your theory. There are, in addition, a couple of logical explanations for the above mentioned attitudes that haven't been mentioned.

When the minimum wage is raised, it sometimes means less hiring and even layoffs in some places. If a business can only afford to spend a fixed amount on labor and the cost of labor goes up slightly, it may need to cut back on employees. This will effect the unskilled workers, which includes those making slightly more than minimum wage, more than others.

Re:" support for welfare in an area decreases as the percentage of welfare recipients in the area rises." Areas that have large percentages of welfare recipients are areas where nearly all the people are struggling to make ends meet. It makes sense for them to oppose policies that they feel will raise taxes and fees- thus making it harder for them to pay their bills.

The other factor is this- Those who live in areas where there are a large percentage of welfare recipients are more aware of cases where the system is abused than the rest of the population. I'm a bleeding heart liberal and a professional social worker, I believe that welfare and other aid for the poor is very necessary and I deplore most cutbacks- BUT I am aware of how some people routinely cheat the system, and I often hear others who are aware of cases and struggling to make ends meet themselves rant about it. I'm referring to things like extra adults living with families receiving section 8 housing or welfare, who are working, but their income and presence is not reported. Welfare money going to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs is a common complaint. Hidden incomes from under the table work is another common abuse.

Comment by play_therapist on Fix My Head · 2011-10-11T15:19:21.355Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A few years ago I was tested for Vitamin D deficiency- probably for the first time. I came out at the low end of the normal range- which is probably normal in the Boston area, where I live. We don't get enough sunlight here for much of the year. My doctor prescribed a megadose of 10,000 units a day for 2 or 3 months and then retested. My levels were o.k. then, so she told me to take 1,000 units a day, which I do, in addition to the 400 units in my multivitamin.

My point is, maybe you need a higher dose- in addition to looking into the possibility that your really do have celiac disease, despite the negative test.

Comment by play_therapist on The National Institute of Theology · 2011-10-04T20:11:07.593Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, I think that depends on the person and the circumstances. I believe that most people who pray do find it comforting, it gives them hope, it is calming. If they pray with others there is a sense of community and belonging. I believe it has much in common with meditation.

I do believe that getting the government involved would violate the principal of separation of church and state.

Comment by play_therapist on Who owns LessWrong? · 2011-09-29T21:45:38.387Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The fact that you didn't get an answer to that question doesn't conclusively mean that he declined to answer it. Perhaps he over looked the question, got distracted and forgot about it, or wanted to think about it some more. It seems to me that more attempt at a dialogue just between the two of you would be a good idea.

Comment by play_therapist on LessWrong gaming community · 2011-09-26T21:47:08.636Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Who are you and what did you do with my son?!!!

Comment by play_therapist on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2011-09-22T22:28:50.986Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. Whatever reading I did of the old testament was back when I was a teenager- which was long ago.I don't remember how far I got, not very. I was reading the commentary along with it, and it was tedious. Perhaps I'll get back to it when I get a chance. That's certainly not the spin that was put on the history we were taught in Hebrew school.

Comment by play_therapist on Fix My Head · 2011-09-19T02:12:26.107Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I can understand your reluctance. May I suggest the following? How about if you get the blood test? If it's positive, then you'll know the problem and can fix your head. If it's negative, you really should work with a doctor and see if he can figure out what it is. Ask him to check out some of the other things suggested. If none of them solve your headaches, then you can try the gluten free diet - to be sure.

As far as the bet goes- what conditions are set are between you and Jim, I just think they should be clearly established, to avoid any misunderstandings. I strongly suspect that he's more interested in helping you figure out the cause of your headaches then in winning a bet.

I know people with celiac who follow the gluten free diet. My impression is that it takes some getting used to, but it isn't that miserable or complicated, once you get used to it. Nowadays supermarkets like Whole Foods have gluten free sections where you can buy special mixes, etc. which helps.

Comment by play_therapist on Fix My Head · 2011-09-18T20:45:07.294Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It wouldn't hurt to spell out the steps Alicorn should take to rule in or out a diagnosis of celiac, since the blood test isn't completely reliable. It's my understanding that following a gluten free diet can be challenging at first, one needs to carefully read labels. Salad dressings, sauces, etc. often contain gluten. A friend of mine bought a separate toaster for her daughter who has celiac. I suggest specifying a set time period that he should follow a gluten free diet while keeping a diary listing all foods eaten, as well as any symptoms.

Comment by play_therapist on Fix My Head · 2011-09-17T21:13:27.916Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can't tell from your log when you ate in relation to when the headaches come on.

One possibility that occurs to me is that your headaches might be occurring when your glucose levels are low, if you are prone to hypoglycemia. You can figure that out by observing if you tend to get the headaches when you haven't eaten for a few hours or more or/and by testing your glucose levels. If that does tend to be a problem, making sure that you have protein or/and some fat with your meals and frequent meals or snacks should help. Also, trying to avoid too simple carbohydrates and sugary foods, which cause glucose levels to spike and then plummet will help.

Comment by play_therapist on Good resource for marketing research? · 2011-09-07T00:28:19.785Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't so much think about omitting anyone, as focusing on who you want to attract. The default plan for most students is to attend the local public school. So, you need to think about how you are going to convince people to attend your school instead. If you are going to start a private school, you will need to convince parents who can pay tuition that it's worth paying it and that it is better spent at your school than other available schools. If you want to start a charter, you'll need to convince the involved government bodies to approve and fund you. You'll have to be able to convince them that you will be filling unmet needs.

Often charter or private schools specialize. They market themselves to attract

gifted students who are bored in the public school or students with special needs students who don't feel safe in the public schools students with behavior problems students who are trying to get into top colleges and feel that they'll have an edge coming from there students wanting to study particular subject matter in depth, such as music, art, science

or some combination of the above

All schools hope to produce competent, mentally healthy individuals. You'll need to focus more tightly.

Comment by play_therapist on [Poll] Who looks better in your eyes? · 2011-08-31T11:35:35.488Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think this comic illustrates what you're talking about in a cute way, - go to Aug. 31.

Comment by play_therapist on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2011-08-28T17:00:06.165Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You said, "The history of religions sometimes resembles the history of viruses. Judaism and Islam were both highly virulent when they first broke out, driving the first generations of their people to conquer (Islam) or just slaughter (Judaism) everyone around them for the sin of not being them. "

I am not familiar with that history of early Judaism. Can you cite any references I can read about it? (I do admit I have not read the entire old testament, perhaps it's in there?) By the way, I have heard that Roman Catholics are actively discouraged from reading either testament directly.

Comment by play_therapist on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2011-08-28T16:36:42.506Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I realize this is almost 2 years after your original posting, I'm going through Jimmy's top 100 articles now.

I just wanted to say that failing to learn the nonverbal rules of adulthood that are different from the verbal rules pretty much describes Aspies. Yes, there is a big overlap between Aspies and nerds- but I think you can be an Aspie and not a nerd and vice versa.

Comment by play_therapist on [Poll] Who looks better in your eyes? · 2011-08-27T01:46:31.823Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's generally best for people to be diplomatic and tactful. It's generally best to think through the likely consequences of saying things and to filter what one says. I see nothing wrong with telling "white lies" to spare some one's feelings, in general.

Comment by play_therapist on [Poll] Who looks better in your eyes? · 2011-08-26T15:00:40.427Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. What I should have said is something along the lines of , "I prefer people who might not be bright to people who are dishonest or manipulative for personal gain." There is a big difference between that and "pretending to share the interpretation of reality shared by others for safety reasons." They are two very different questions.

Thinking about it more, though- I think it all depends on the circumstances. There are cases where being honest leads to discrimination. I heard that when my uncle, who had a PhD in chemistry, applied for a job at General Mills in the late 1930's or early 1940's, the employment application asked his religious preference. Discrimination against anyone other then Christians was legal and rampant at the time. He was a secular Jew, atheist. He wrote on the application, "I have no preference, I think all religions are lovely." I don't blame him in the least.

Comment by play_therapist on [Poll] Who looks better in your eyes? · 2011-08-25T17:23:22.967Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

B. I prefer people who might not be bright to dishonest, manipulative people.

Comment by play_therapist on Good resource for marketing research? · 2011-08-20T17:38:39.099Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think you might start by deciding first what kind of students you want to attract. Are you planning to open a private school for wealthy children whose parents will pay for it? If so, then you might want to do an assessment of what motivates parents to send their children to private schools and what needs there are that are being under served. Then your marketing would be aimed to reach those parents and to show how your school will fit their needs.

If you have in mind an alternative high school that would be funded by tax dollars and free to the students, that is a very different thing. You would have to research policies and procedures to establish the schools. They may need to be set up as non-profit institutions. My impression is that in many cities students will enroll in the local charter schools mostly because they don't want to attend the public schools.

Good luck.

Comment by play_therapist on Raise the Age Demographic · 2011-08-10T20:41:08.645Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I'm married and 59. My son is introduced me to LessWrong. I don't go to meetups because 1-I'm busy with other things, 2- They aren't terribly convenient to where I live 3-I think I'd be an embarrassment to my son 4-I don't think I'd really fit in. That's partially because of age and sex, but also interests. I find some of the things discussed here interesting, but am not interested in some of the topics. Some of the postings make my brain ache.

Comment by play_therapist on Career choice for a utilitarian giver · 2011-08-10T01:47:25.999Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It sounds like you've pretty much made up your mind.

Comment by play_therapist on Career choice for a utilitarian giver · 2011-08-08T21:42:35.847Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you're seriously considering becoming a psychiatrist & taking on 9 more years of education & training- there are a couple more things to consider. One is, do you plan to have children and how do they fit into that. The 2nd is, while you have the potential to earn much more money, you would first have to take on debt to pay for medical school. Also, you may have to relocate to attend medical school and a residency, which would have an impact on your marriage and husband's career. Boy do I sound like a traditionalist, but they are things to consider.

I think, though, it should come down to whether you really like social work. If you like it and you're good at it, you'll make a difference in your work and give away what you can. If you're not sure if you do, that's another issue and you should explore your options. The training you've had in grad. school could serve you well in psychiatry.

Comment by play_therapist on Career choice for a utilitarian giver · 2011-08-08T18:31:36.167Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

We need good, smart social workers- there's a shortage going into the profession. Please stick with it. If you want to focus on saving lives as a social worker, you can go into development, start new programs, expand existing programs.

I've been on the administrative side of agencies. I can tell you that 1- having good people makes a huge difference in what they accomplish and 2- while they might advertise that a $100 donation will pay for so many vaccines- it doesn't really mean that if you give $100 that many lives will be saved. It's not that simple. There is overhead, program planning. Getting a little more money isn't going to allow them to expand into another city to start giving vaccines to a new population and they aren't spending every dime they take in right away, they need to keep reserves on hand. In other words, you can't really know that you are saving all those lives by giving that much money. You will know what your impact is as a social worker, though. I'd be happy to talk to you more about social work, send me a message if you want to arrange a phone chat.

Comment by play_therapist on Study shows meditation may have potential to change the physical structure of the brain · 2011-07-27T21:50:32.980Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's news, in my opinion, because it is concrete evidence that meditation does have a very real effect on the mental functioning of those who practice it regularly for long periods of time.

Comment by play_therapist on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-07-24T13:27:56.442Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious how you found this blog and what attracts you to it. I never would have, except for my son. It's definitely geared towards young nerds, and most of the posters are guys.

Comment by play_therapist on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2011-07-15T20:36:08.443Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Hi. I just opened a new account with this user name. My user name was playtherapist. It was pointed out to me that it was still being misinterpreted as play the rapist. I am a child therapist and social worker. I help disturbed children work through their issues while using dolls, action figures, a sand tray, art materials and therapeutic games. This is called play therapy and is the most effective way to do therapy with young children. I would never dream of "playing the rapist." There didn't seem to be a way to just modify my user name, so I opened a new account.

I am the mother of a regular poster and meetup leader. I started reading posts out of curiosity about what he was talking about, etc. Recently I began reading the sequences and top 100 articles. Some of it is quite interesting.