Comment by pseudobison on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2016-06-28T19:23:48.283Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This seems like a slippery slope. Minorities tend to have shorter life expectancies than whites, at least in the U.S. and U.K. Do their votes then count for less?

Comment by pseudobison on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2016-06-28T19:16:26.222Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No; my script only contains the handful of unicode characters I commonly use, and is so idiosyncratic to me that it wouldn't be of much use to anyone else (mine includes autoreplacements for directories, email addresses I commonly type, etc.). But it's easy enough to make your own with whatever characters you use -- the syntax is simply





Comment by pseudobison on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2016-06-28T06:46:53.184Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I use Autohotkey on Windows for that purpose.

Comment by pseudobison on Suggest best book as an introduction to computational neuroscience · 2016-05-28T06:10:32.738Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Networks of the Brain by Olaf Sporns certainly doesn't cover all of computational neuroscience, but is a good accessible introduction to using the tools of network theory to gain a better understanding of brain function at many different levels.

Comment by pseudobison on Recovery Manual for Civilization · 2016-05-26T09:08:40.729Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One could bury Wikipedia, the Internet Archive, or a bunch of other items suggested by The Long Now Foundation

Since no one's yet included the links to the Long Now Foundation's blog posts in which they discuss suggestions for such items and other projects that are attempts in this direction, here they are:

Comment by pseudobison on Negative visualization, radical acceptance and stoicism · 2016-04-17T06:29:09.332Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I find that negative visualization in conjunction with Mark Williams' guided meditation "Exploring Difficulties" is useful for getting me in that stoic mindset of being more okay with a worst-case scenario. (Or at least, I hope so - I guess I'll see how well it worked if the worst-case scenario ever comes to pass.)

Comment by pseudobison on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-04-02T09:11:12.671Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

I've taken the survey.

Comment by pseudobison on Open Thread March 21 - March 27, 2016 · 2016-03-22T09:58:55.837Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I keep a daily journal. Beginning of day: Two things that I'm grateful for. End of day: Two things that went well that day, two things that could have gone better. Each "thing" is usually only a sentence or few long. I find that going back through the end-of-day sentences every so often is useful for doing 80-20 analyses to find out what seems to be bringing me the most happiness / dissatisfaction (at least as judged by my end-of-day assessments).

Comment by pseudobison on Open Thread March 21 - March 27, 2016 · 2016-03-22T09:01:41.822Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm very sorry to hear about your dog. It's a very difficult thing to go through even without any predisposition towards depression.

This is probably an idiosyncratic thing that only helps me, but I find remembering that time is a dimension just like space helps a little bit. In the little slice of time I inhabit, a pet or person who has passed on is gone. From a higher-dimensional perspective, they haven't gone anywhere. If someone were to be capable of observing from a higher dimension, they could see the deceased just as I remember them in life. So in the same way that someone whose children are living far from home can remind themselves that their children are in another place, likewise your dog is living happily in another time. English doesn't quite have a tense that conveys the sentiment I want to convey, but I think you get the idea. Don't know if that line of thought does anything for you - I find it a small but useful comfort.

Re actually doing exercise/positive self-talk when you're down, setting up little conditionals that I make into automatic habits by following them robotically has sometimes worked for me. "IF notice self getting anxious - THEN take five minute walk outside". Obviously setting up those in the first place and following through on them the first n times only works when in an OK mood, but once they become habits they're easier to follow through on in more difficult states of mind. I've also found the Negative Self-Talk/Positive Thinking table at the bottom of the page here to be useful.

But hard things are hard no matter what. Sounds like you're doing the right thing now by making the most of the time you have together. Best of luck to you.

Comment by pseudobison on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-29T09:17:56.578Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's the point of the article: agriculture allowed the Earth to support a vastly larger human population than it could have otherwise, but at a cost.

Personally I'm more optimistic than the author of the article I linked that the median quality of life of a human on Planet Earth will ultimately exceed the median quality of life of a human on an Earth where agriculture had never been developed -- in fact I think there's a good chance that that's already the case. But I don't think it's completely obvious, for reasons the author describes in detail.

Comment by pseudobison on Goal setting journal (March 2016) · 2016-02-29T08:30:42.905Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I guess whether > 3 mg/kg is a "lot" compared to other food types is relative to the number of food types the study considered.

I haven't dug up the France study to see how many foods they looked at that didn't make the >3 mg/kg cut, but the first study that I clicked on after searching Google scholar just now is a German study that found a median mg/kg of 160 for "cocoa powder" and 39 for "chocolate". Of the 1,431 food samples they tested, "77.8% had an aluminium concentration of less than 10 mg kg-1. Of the samples, 17.5% had aluminium concentrations between 10 and 100 mg kg-1. In only 4.6% of the samples, aluminium concentrations greater than 100 mg kg-1 were found.". Looking at the histogram in Figure 1, we can place chocolate's median aluminum level of 39 in the top 13.7% percent or higher, and cocoa powder's of 160 in the top 4.6% or higher.

I'm well aware of the irony that in my above post I suggested substituting cocoa powder for chocolate.

In particular, the study notes that "Table 4 shows that the PTWI for aluminium can be reached only by consumption of large amounts of chocolate [42–44]." (PTWI = provisional tolerable weekly intake used by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives).

Are there plenty of other foods with as much aluminum as chocolate? Sure. Am I cutting chocolate out of my own diet anytime soon? No. But since the original poster is planning to take up chocolate consumption specifically for brain/intelligence -related reasons, I figured it was a relevant consideration.

edit: It's kind of an odd list of foodstuffs the German study considered. The introduction implies but doesn't state that they selected foods that they expected to have at least some aluminum content based on prior research. I also can't account for the huge discrepancies between the French and German studies in terms of mg/kg aluminum levels detected.

Comment by pseudobison on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-28T20:20:47.144Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think it turned out pretty well.

Well, that remains to be seen.

Comment by pseudobison on Goal setting journal (March 2016) · 2016-02-28T20:07:52.174Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I once TA'd a statistics class in which the chocolate/Nobel Prize thing was used as the prototypical example for why correlation doesn't equal causation. Scientific American describes some problems with the study and plausible alternative explanations.

On the other hand, the cocoa may have some health benefits with respect to all-cause mortality, and the flavonoids likely have cognitive and other health benefits.

On the other other hand, the sugar surely doesn't, and chocolate has a lot of aluminum and maybe lead -- the latter is definitely not good for your brain, and the former might not be.

In any case, if you're going to take it up for health reasons, a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa in your oatmeal or coffee every morning is probably better than a Cadbury's egg.