Comment by rastilin on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread · 2011-04-20T06:37:52.882Z · LW · GW

The answer appears to be no. There were a few articles in Scientific American: Mind about it a while back. Experiments show that the flaw causing stuff like people denying they can't move their arms is part of their logic processing; they proved this by figuring out they could reset their thinking for a short time, at which point people were able to clearly state that they were paralyzed and they were surprised at their earlier thinking.

After a minute, the effect wore off and the patient returned to an earlier state. So the effect appears to short circuit the decision making process on a hardware level.

Comment by rastilin on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread · 2011-04-20T06:32:20.624Z · LW · GW

Is that where that's from?

Comment by rastilin on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread · 2011-04-20T06:25:50.361Z · LW · GW

Or maybe it just doesn't work on children? No one knows because no one's ever tried it.

If you could program a slaying weapon, what is the one group of people that no-one in their right mind could possibly ever want to kill? I'd say that group would be children too young to speak. Anyone going after them is certainly an absolute psycho.

Comment by rastilin on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread · 2011-04-20T06:22:40.457Z · LW · GW

I agree to an extent. He does remind me of people I've known in the rationalist movement. It's worth pointing out that him blurting out the wrong thing at the wrong time isn't just an annoying character trait, it's probably symptomatic; I'd speculate he doesn't really consider other people as fellow actors in his decision making. If there was someone who did not make efforts to bond with people around him, would you be willing to trust him with power over their happiness?

That's a non hypothetical question, I'd love to hear a rebuttal.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T17:41:32.281Z · LW · GW

True. Nevertheless I've always felt common sense to be a hazy subject. I'd prefer to use the words "personal judgement". They can use their personal judgement ;) to prepare against the risks in order to get the benefits of the course. Or not. Because this stuff sounds pretty similar to what beginner PUAs are taught, those guys hold courses too, although you might end up paying way more.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T17:01:58.799Z · LW · GW

That's a valid point. Women who have read about the pickup artist techniques report that the techniques still work on them even when they're aware the person is using them. On the other hand, SWIM says that being aware of various techniques has helped him guard against HR methods on the basis of "Oh, now he's moving into stage x, next he's going to...". SWIM would say that it depends to what degree you're predisposed against the person using them.

Be aware that some techinques are more obvious than others. Some are really obvious when you know they exist, but also really obscure, so you won't know they're being used unless you've read about it before.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T16:39:02.281Z · LW · GW

Oh I agree it's dangerous. The world is filled with dangerous ideas and pointy bits, we're all adults here and can make our own decisions without child friendly warnings over everything.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T16:31:56.175Z · LW · GW

That's his way of communicating, I took it as a joke personally.

If you're suspecting that he's a stooge for scientology, say it outright. I didn't really think it was that strange that he mentioned the little details; not to mention that all of us here are pretty well versed in scientology by now.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T15:20:15.460Z · LW · GW

Wow, so if I say yes, then what? Will we go back and forth for a hundred pages in a good old fashioned internet flame war? No thanks, I have better uses of my time. ;)

We know that scientology is bad, no one here's in any doubt about their legitimacy or thinks they might be some cool people to hang out with; conversely that course is sounding pretty good, which is what he was praising. Complaining until he adds a warning on the end, saying we shouldn't take it is pretty silly considering he obviously intends us to take the course or something similar to it.

And so what? He's entitled to his opinion about scientology too, as well as their courses.

Comment by rastilin on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2011-04-19T11:41:48.734Z · LW · GW

Precisely. Especially since, while a lot of us have jobs where we either work for ourselves or our bosses just don't care... some of us have those repressive nightmare jobs where our bosses google for us regularly outside of work hours.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T11:23:22.581Z · LW · GW

That's a fair point; conversely, there are entire websites (or so I've heard) dedicated to obvious warnings, and there are already people making fun of how obvious his warning is. So I'm thinking his pre-emption was pretty close to spot on.

Comment by rastilin on Build Small Skills in the Right Order · 2011-04-19T04:09:30.426Z · LW · GW

Keep in mind that even techniques expressly designed for improving social skills can result in "social robots" when misapplied. And this is the first time I see de-facto hour-long staring contests (from a cult indoctrination course, no less) mentioned as a way to improve eye contact skills.

Which techniques and can you link us?

Comment by rastilin on Happiness Engineering · 2011-04-18T14:52:10.677Z · LW · GW

What about those successful people that failed many times to get where they are?

Comment by rastilin on Pain and gain motivation · 2011-04-18T04:02:30.413Z · LW · GW

How do we know how good the supporting evidence is if we have no way to assay it for ourselves? At that point, aren't we just forced to take poster's word for it? That's not even as good as evaluating their performance because it's completely results independent. A lot of the time, logical fallacies just come up as an excuse for the poster to say whatever they want without having to back it up.

Assuming that we could see how people implement their own theories, we would have a feedback loop; however, many theories inside less wrong operate inside a vacum. We used to depend on logic to evaluate theories, then we stopped and moved into the scientific method, because pure logic doesn't work outside of a closed environment. It only works when you have a solid grasp of the intial variables.

That's rationalizing groupthink. IMO you should speak the truth as best you can, and change your estimated truth based on the arguments you read and the evidence presented, not on guesses about what your audience is willing to listen to.

From your complaint it sounds like they're forcing you to march in lockstep with everyone while chanting slogans; compared to being asked to back up your assertions.

Comment by rastilin on Generalizing From One Example · 2011-04-17T04:36:14.559Z · LW · GW

One of the practical exercises pickup artists use to break their shyness is to open conversations with thirty women on the street; in fact, being able to start conversations and ask out strange women in a non-bar setting is part of what a good pickup artist is expected to be able to do (in Tokyo there's even a name for it, "nampa"). I'd expect a pickup artist to know many different kinds of women.

Also, if you don't really know what pickup artists do, how do you know what they think of women?

Comment by rastilin on Pain and gain motivation · 2011-04-17T03:33:24.084Z · LW · GW

How is impostor syndrome different from having low self esteem?

Comment by rastilin on Pain and gain motivation · 2011-04-17T03:32:34.181Z · LW · GW

Well said. This thread is very useful and I think I've already learnt a great deal that will help me be more productive. That being said; your right about people's tendencies to make completely off the wall statements about the underpinnings of human behavior.

I submit that there are people who make it their business to understand other people so that they can manipulate them. These people are sometimes very successful, which indicates that they might know something; if you're not riding an equally high wave of popularity and love; perhaps you are not qualified to make these assertions regarding humanity's secret thoughts.

Comment by rastilin on A rationalist's guide to psychoactive drugs · 2011-04-11T11:11:19.783Z · LW · GW

MCT oil.. that's stuff like coconut oil right? I would never even have considered trying something like that, thanks.

Comment by rastilin on Verifying Rationality via · 2011-04-05T07:40:39.161Z · LW · GW

I wouldn't bother with that. I tried it and the latest version is incompatible with the current batch of poker software, they haven't updated it in years. You're better off looking at review sites for a more up to date application.

Comment by rastilin on Nootropics and Cognitive-enhancement Discussion Area · 2011-02-24T13:26:24.817Z · LW · GW

It's been a while since you started, what happened next?

Comment by rastilin on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-25T11:06:33.220Z · LW · GW

That's not the impression I got. The date ended up paying because Alicorn didn't want to, and the date not paying would have led to fewer dates. She stated she was prepared to pay half, not prepared to pay full like her date was doing.

(I go on first dates prepared to pay half if my date seems to prefer this idea when I ask, but preparing to do that before every date with a person I intended to see ?regularly would be rapidly exhausting for me, so I'd be leery of going on dates-that-could-cost-money with someone who doesn't demonstrate an inclination to pay

In the comment just next to mine, she says...

Yeah, I'd have similar preferences if I dated a girl. (I have been in relationships with girls, but never in the "we will go to a place and spend money on food/an activity" style of relationship.)

Which illustrates the reasoning behind PUA advice being to split the bill. It explicitly states that she should only bother spending time with you for your company. If the idea that you two would work out something that didn't involve spending money never comes up, then she just wasn't into you.

Comment by rastilin on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-25T10:44:03.662Z · LW · GW

You mean the relative strengths of having money versus being a woman? I'm not seeing the division here.

Comment by rastilin on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-25T00:05:49.115Z · LW · GW

What if your intent is to lose weight? You're pre-defining "work" for the benefit of your argument.

Comment by rastilin on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-24T06:55:43.967Z · LW · GW

Aside from the possibility that you had a bad breakup and you end up complaining for several minutes, which isn't a good sign in a date. It raises the question of "What did those people find out about this person that I don't know yet that it caused them to break up with them.".

Comment by rastilin on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-24T06:29:33.141Z · LW · GW

You might be interested to know that Style says roughly one out of twenty people who start to learn PUA reach a high level of skill.

I personally agree with Martin however; especially in relation to diets. Diets DO work, they are just difficult to implement, changing your lifestyle often is; that applies to exercise, studying a new language or anything that requires a large time investment before you see payoffs. The math comparison is especially appropriate. In this way PUA is no different from any other self improvement course that you might decide to undertake.

Comment by rastilin on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-23T17:21:02.338Z · LW · GW

That would end pretty quickly. PUA tells you to drop a woman if she seems cagey about going out or you're not making progress by the second date. It's very much a numbers game, there are tens of thousands of unattached women in even the smallest city and on average, 4% are willing to do anything without any PUA skills being applied; if it's not working out just give up and go find someone else.

Comment by rastilin on Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises · 2011-01-09T20:16:51.088Z · LW · GW

You say it "seems like". Do you play video games yourself? Not just one, but as a significant percentage of your time.

Comment by rastilin on Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises · 2011-01-09T20:14:01.785Z · LW · GW

If there's a tree, it might be Diablo 2 or Dragon Age.

Comment by rastilin on Dunbar's Function · 2011-01-09T19:47:51.085Z · LW · GW

Or in looking at it another way... we can change politics but choose not to. For example, a researcher at TED was explaining how politicians are far more receptive to written letters than any other method of communication; even to the point where a well written letter was enough to change their vote on a topic.

Failing that, we always joke about how special interest groups have enough money to get close to and negotiate with politicians. However; nothing stops any of us from starting our own group, taking donations and having our hired employees go to the capital and get our word in.

It sounds more and more like the monkey sphere is an argument for not bothering to do any of the things that could change the particular problems affecting us

Comment by rastilin on What would you do if blood glucose theory of willpower was true? · 2011-01-05T16:54:07.914Z · LW · GW

You're right Strange7, they're not totally solved. However I think taw's point has some merit. While the "Magic Bullet" didn't completely solve it's problem, it did ameliorate them to a huge degree. For example pre and post genetic-engineering farming is massively different... over 2 times as good. Doing the same for willpower would change society.

Comment by rastilin on The Physiology of Willpower · 2011-01-04T20:36:37.931Z · LW · GW

Yeah Alicorn, I noticed something similar with a few of the plastic bottles I've come across. Sometimes they taste weird, or smell funny or change the taste of what's put in them. Hopefully whatever is leeching out of the bottles isn't carcinogenic.

Comment by rastilin on Rationality quotes: October 2010 · 2010-10-10T05:20:11.509Z · LW · GW

I've been told that the cost of deploying the fire department runs into several thousand; this would be a pretty nasty invoice to get in addition to fire damage. The insurance model makes it easier to pay.

Also, in that specific incidence, it wasn't their fire-department. The township was getting fire services from the next station over; not their own. They had to pay monthly fees for this, so without a monthly payment, they wouldn't be convincing those guys to maintain service.

Comment by rastilin on Rationality quotes: October 2010 · 2010-10-10T05:13:45.881Z · LW · GW

I don't have much experience with Lojban but the news that people use it in a similar way to current languages wouldn't surprise me at all. I've noticed that a great deal of misunderstandings happen when one side is being vague on purpose because they don't want to give up too much information.