Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners 2011-07-15T17:53:17.750Z · score: 0 (9 votes)
Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior (at least in mice) 2011-02-02T15:25:40.512Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Evidence of a link between what type of fat one eats and depression 2011-01-27T22:32:16.963Z · score: 1 (2 votes)


Comment by playtherapist on Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners · 2011-07-16T15:10:02.667Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for explaining that to me. It probably was two down votes in Main, as it showed up as ten points gone, and then another ten points gone shortly there after.

Comment by playtherapist on Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners · 2011-07-16T11:55:56.012Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some people voted this up, others down- currently it's at -1. Somehow, though, I ended up with 22 less karma points then before I posted it and it was my first post in months. Initially I mistakenly posted it to "General" instead of "Discussion". I moved it as soon as it was pointed out to me, at which point it had -1. I'm not upset, I have a thick skin, but I'm curious about how and why I lost 20 other karma points. Perhaps many people had already downloaded it when it was posted to "general" and voted it down? Either that, or one or more people went through my very old comments and posts down voting.

Sorry about the link being to a pay site, I still thought it was an interesting finding. I posted it without a discussion because I thought the abstract spoke for itself. Also, I've been told that I shouldn't write a summary of what I link to.

Comment by playtherapist on Homomorphic encryption and Bitcoin · 2011-05-19T02:11:37.715Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds brilliant to me. :)

Comment by playtherapist on [LINK] Two articles on Bitcoin · 2011-05-17T01:14:13.517Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It's a state, not a country, obviously- but until recently New Hampshire had not sale or income tax. The government was funded almost exclusively by real estate taxes and government run liquor stores.

Comment by playtherapist on Mitigating Social Awkwardness · 2011-05-01T20:06:47.666Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think watching people taking acting lessons must be a very good way to learn how to read others. Unfortunately, it's not something that's very convenient for most people to do. I think focusing in on the facial expressions and body language of good actresses and actors while watching movies, t.v., etc. would help, too.

Comment by playtherapist on Mitigating Social Awkwardness · 2011-05-01T19:55:31.275Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm atypical of people on this board, as some of you might know. I found it through my son, who fits the demographics much more. I'm a clinical social worker/ child therapist- thus my name "play therapist". What I didn't see mentioned, which I think is probably a more common problem than people not using the right body language to convey what they mean to, is not picking up on the body language, tone of facial expressions and tone of voice of people you are speaking to. I don't have any easy answers about how to learn to read them, it's something that is intuitive for most people. If you can learn to read people that way, though, it will be a huge help in social interactions. For example, when you say something and there is no response, there will usually be non-verbal cues as to whether you were heard.

Comment by playtherapist on SIAI Fundraising · 2011-04-26T17:34:26.318Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Employee compensation generally includes more than just salary- there's the cost of the employers share of social security, health insurance and any other benefits. If these are included in the figures listed, then the employees salaries are considerably less. If the Singularity Institute isn't providing health insurance, than buying individual policies is a major expense for the employees. The Bay Area is also one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Comment by playtherapist on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions · 2011-04-21T00:54:38.848Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In case you didn't figure it out, I thought you were making a joke. As Jimmy pointed out, I don't see "parent", because I look at his history and don't read the sequences. I have been corrected.

Comment by playtherapist on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions · 2011-04-20T20:47:15.105Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, Alicorn. "Spy on son."

Comment by playtherapist on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions · 2011-04-20T20:03:16.559Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Often I'll see that someone made a comment in response to what someone said as part of a discussion. If there's an easy way to see what specifically they are responding to, without searching through the entire discussion, I haven't found it. I know that one can also click on the name of the person being responded to, but if that person does a lot of posting, it can also be difficult to find that comment. A feature whereby one could click some where and be taken to the comment being responded to, in the context of the discussion would be helpful.

Comment by playtherapist on reply to benelliott about Popper issues · 2011-04-08T22:51:55.747Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like your attitude, son!

Comment by playtherapist on Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior (at least in mice) · 2011-02-09T19:04:56.116Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting, I didn't know that.

Comment by playtherapist on Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior (at least in mice) · 2011-02-03T01:56:16.213Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't mention antibiotics, I said antibacterial products- I was referring to cleaners that kill all the bacteria on surfaces, thus altering what people are exposed to. Antibiotics do, also, alter the gut bacteria.

Yes, I am saying there may be links that the articles didn't mention. It's not just the higher activity level, but the increase in risky behavior.

Those are good points about effective calorie intake.

I would like to know how living in hermetically sealed environments have effected childrens' brain development. I've never seen anything published about that.

Comment by playtherapist on Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior (at least in mice) · 2011-02-02T18:10:58.424Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Science Daily report on the article states

" The adult germ-free mice were observed to be more active and engaged in more 'risky' behavior than mice raised with normal microorganisms."

That's what made me think of ADHD, but I initially posted the link to the original research and the abstract doesn't mention the risky behavior. Children with ADHD are more active and take more risks. I think that's partially because many of them are less fearful and partially because they often act quickly, without thinking about consequences. Whether they are less anxious on average, I'm not sure. Often their difficulties focusing, poor social skills, etc. lead to negative consequences that can cause anxiety. The experiment was with mice, not humans- so it doesn't necessarily apply the same way. I definitely think this is worth more research.

Comment by playtherapist on Help: Neurochemistry question · 2011-01-08T20:05:02.337Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a clinical social worker/therapist and know a bit about bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. My clients are all children and few have been given either diagnosis yet, although more will probably when they are older. I don't think that we really know yet whether avoiding medication increases ones chances of actual schizophrenia. One article I recently read actually suggested that taking anti-psychotics long term might prevent one from making a full recovery after a psychotic episode.

I do know that you should avoid certain psychoactive substances, most of which are illegal (LSD, uppers, etc.) and heavy alcohol use. It is also best to try to avoid super stressful situations as much as you can.

It is my understanding that many people with bi-polar disorder (and schizophrenia) don't like their medications because it makes them feel flat.

If you can get objective feedback from family or friends about your behavior in manic states it would be helpful for you to assess whether you should get treatment. You could ask them whether you are doing risky things? Are you so irritable/manic that you are antagonizing others?

My 2nd cousin once removed, Lizzie Simon has bi-polar disorder. She wrote a book, "Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D " in which she writes about her own experiences and interviews with other individuals with bi-polar disorder. She was looking for individuals who were functioning well. Lizzie goes around the country lecturing about bi-polar disorder. You might want to check out the book or/and her website.

Comment by playtherapist on Help: Neurochemistry question · 2011-01-08T19:44:42.747Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As a clinical social worker and a therapist, I can attest to the fact that if you want to bill an insurance company for therapy you have to label the patient/client with a DSM diagnosis. If one is paying a doctor themselves for medication, there probably is a bit more leeway.

Comment by playtherapist on Self Improvement - Broad vs Focused · 2011-01-01T13:56:32.929Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You might want to consider substituting another kind of cheese for American. I suggest this for two reasons: 1- If you have to cut it, rather than having it presliced, you'll be more mindful of how much you are eating it. 2- American cheese has more additives than other forms of cheese.

I, also, think the hummus suggestion is good. Keeping other healthy snack foods around might also be helpful- fruit, salsa, guacamole, carrot sticks or baby carrots and nuts.

Comment by playtherapist on Self Improvement - Broad vs Focused · 2010-12-31T18:59:11.486Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Such good suggestions. Your mom must have done something right. :)

Comment by playtherapist on Newtonmas Meetup, 12/25/2010 · 2010-12-25T18:30:02.704Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting post. I agree that disagreement is productive and necessary for an organization to be effective. I know, however, that there are ways of disagreeing in a diplomatic way that lead to others being more likely to listen. Learning to be diplomatic takes practice, desire and good social skills. Diplomacy and social skills can be learned. By my post, I was suggesting ways one can be more diplomatic when the menu isn't to ones liking.

Comment by playtherapist on Newtonmas Meetup, 12/25/2010 · 2010-12-24T13:46:07.610Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You might have heightened expectations, but I don't think it's realistic to expect that much. I belong to several nonprofit organizations that have meet ups with food and ask for a donation or admission charge Often it is expected for participants to bring a dish, in addition to making a donation. If invitees don't like the menu, they either usually bring something they do like tp share or don't com. If they do complain,they generally do so more discreetly or put a positive spin on it. For example, they might praise the organizers for a job well done and say they think a dinner organized around such and such dish or catered by, or held at, such and such restaurant would be great for the next event.

Comment by playtherapist on Newtonmas Meetup, 12/25/2010 · 2010-12-24T04:27:51.058Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Kevin, I think it's really nice of you to invite everyone and to elicit their food preferences. I live on the other coast, and have other plans. It looks to me like you have taken vegetarians into consideration. If I were invited to a party and was concerned that their was not going to be enough food that I could, or wanted to eat, I would offer to bring a dish of something that I wanted to eat- with enough to share.

Comment by playtherapist on The Santa deception: how did it affect you? · 2010-12-21T17:38:22.003Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You must misunderstand why my name is "playtherapist"- which is understandable. I really am a playtherapist. I do therapy with children, using play. I get paid for playing with doll houses, sand trays, play dough, action figures, etc. with troubled little children. I help them to work out their anxiety, anger, feelings of loss, etc. using play.

Comment by playtherapist on The Santa deception: how did it affect you? · 2010-12-21T02:05:56.602Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. Yes, jimrandomh is definitely American, so unless David came to one of the Singularity Institute's conferences and met him there, they wouldn't have met.

Comment by playtherapist on The Santa deception: how did it affect you? · 2010-12-21T01:43:23.383Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

p.s. Are you someone who my son has met live or just an online friend?

Comment by playtherapist on The Santa deception: how did it affect you? · 2010-12-21T01:38:19.448Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not really. He told me about the board. When I told him I looked at his posts occasionally, he suggested I register and post myself. Then, when I told him that his post about our town's Santa program was slightly inaccurate, he said I could clarify it if I wanted to. I pointed out that I'd have to reveal my identity and he didn't have a problem with it!

Comment by playtherapist on The Santa deception: how did it affect you? · 2010-12-20T03:48:29.840Z · score: 29 (29 votes) · LW · GW

jimrandomh's mom here. That's not exactly right. It's a town wide program, all volunteer. Parents drop off gifts at a central location on a set day. Routes are planned, each with a driver and a volunteer. The gifts are delivered on Christmas Eve. Santa comes and rings the doorbell and comes in, often posing for photos. I'm pretty sure we only did it once, when he was 4 or 5, but it made a lasting impression, he knew that Santa came to the house and was not his dad, as his dad was right there.

Comment by playtherapist on Smart people who are usually wrong · 2010-12-02T02:34:31.261Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Everyone's judgment and prejudices are influenced by their life experiences and, to some extent, their personalities. On just about any topic where the facts aren't entirely clear, intelligent people are not going to all agree. The directions in which they disagree will be determined by judgment and prejudices. It makes sense that people on this board will find themselves disagreeing with the same people repeatedly.

Comment by playtherapist on Ben Goertzel: The Singularity Institute's Scary Idea (and Why I Don't Buy It) · 2010-10-30T22:58:24.770Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

RE: Empathy and intelligence- It is possible to be brilliant in some respects without empathy, but it is definitely a handicap not to have it. There are many aspects of intelligence, only some of which are measured by IQ tests. Empathy is one, others are musical and artistic talents and social skills. I question whether it is possible to teach an AI any of these, especially empathy. The latest research I've read indicates that the ability to develop empathy is tied to what have been labeled "mirror neurons". They are missing in people with autism- and, quite possibly, in psychopaths too.

Comment by playtherapist on META: Who Have You Told About LW? · 2010-10-29T22:37:38.920Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I just read the survey from May 2009 than jimrandomh posted a link to. I found it extremely interesting. I would guess, from the postings I've read, that the demographics haven't changed drastically since that survey was taken.

Re: IQ's- I remember from one of my psychology classes that the 98th percentile is an IQ of 130 and the 99th is 150. I find it quite believable that the average IQ on this board is in the 140's. I know my IQ is in the 98th or 99th percentile, based on how I did on other standardized tests and I feel like the dumbest person on the board when I read many of the posts.

I recommend being selective about recommending this board. If someone fits into the demographics and seems like he would like discussing the common topics, go ahead- but it is definitely not for most people.

Comment by playtherapist on Even if you have a nail, not all hammers are the same · 2010-10-28T22:39:45.199Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

One supplement that is now being widely prescribed is Vitamin D. Testing to see if one is Vitamin D deficient is common here in the Boston area. It is being suggested that insufficient Vitamin D is linked to multiple health ailments- autoimmune diseases and increased risk of heart attacks in particular. My doctor prescribed Vitamin D supplements for me.

Comment by playtherapist on What hardcore singularity believers should consider doing · 2010-10-28T11:48:11.939Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't found one. While searching I found comments that castration protects against testicular cancer, enlargement of the prostrate and related infections.

On the other hand, I also found a reference stating: " two studies found that the metabolic rate of spayed and neutered cats is lower than intact cats" and that ":Spayed and neutered cats have an 8.7 times greater risk of developing diabetes than intact cats"

Comment by playtherapist on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2010-10-28T02:31:30.757Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Hi. I've been lurking here for awhile, because my son is a major contributor. I recently confessed that I was reading his posts and he urged me to register and contribute. I made my first comment a few minutes ago, in response to "What hardcore singularity believers should consider doing."

I think I'm probably atypical for this site. I'm a 58 year old, female, clinical social worker. I've worked in mental institutions, foster care for the disabled and, for the past 21 years as a play therapist with children. I'm also a part-time artist and a volunteer executive director of a non-profit organization. I'm not sure that I am a "rationalist".

Comment by playtherapist on What hardcore singularity believers should consider doing · 2010-10-28T02:08:06.089Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I did a little Googling. It seems that cats and dogs that are castrated do live longer than those that don't, so lower testosterone might be correlated with longevity. I think, though, that the effect on patients in mental institutions may be greater than on the population as a whole. Mentally ill, institutionalized patients are often violent. Castration would tend to calm them down. It would lead to less fights, less time in isolation rooms and being treated better by the staff. That would all contribute to longer lives on average.

In any case, even if castrated individuals don't live longer, it would FEEL longer.