Comment by remizidae on Menstrual cycle effects—Clue study summary and commentary · 2021-04-02T12:56:53.712Z · LW · GW

It might be a good idea to point out that there is substantial individual variation in how individual women experience their menstrual cycle. Knowing the averages does not enable you to draw conclusions about what any individual is experiencing. If you find yourself saying, "You must be [X] because of your menstrual cycle," stop. Do not lecture women about their menstrual cycle, do not assume you know more than they do about how their bodies work.

I gather there wasn't any data about cyclic changes in sex drive, but that would be an interesting one to study too.

Comment by remizidae on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-02T17:56:53.738Z · LW · GW

Do people in your bubble generally find it difficult to make decisions that might seem "selfish," or might be disapproved of by their peers?

Comment by remizidae on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-02T01:47:06.156Z · LW · GW

It's very strange to me that a group of people who are, on average, very well informed about COVID, and who are probably aware that the risk of death for healthy non-elderly people is incredibly low, would so often go completely overboard on precautions. Is it hyper-altruism?

Comment by remizidae on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-01T16:53:54.890Z · LW · GW

I’ve got to ask, what is the most locked-down person you know doing? It’s hard to imagine being more locked down than you are!

Comment by remizidae on Takeaways from one year of lockdown · 2021-03-01T16:52:36.994Z · LW · GW

How much of your stress do you think was the result of living in a group house, and thus feeling that you had to get roommates’ consent to very normal things like going on a date or a walk? I know some people seem to like the group house thing, but damn, I like making my own decisions.

I’d like to see survey data on rationalists’ responses to the pandemic. Does this exist (should i make it exist?) I suspect the incredibly super-cautious are more vocal, thus distorting our perception of what others are doing.

Personally, I’m avoiding indoor restaurants/bars and indoor socializing and I wear masks when required. But I have no problem with outdoor socializing, going to restaurants and stores, and I’ve gone on several pandemic vacations.

Comment by remizidae on Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk · 2021-03-01T16:44:31.961Z · LW · GW

You may be overestimating the amount of time and effort rich parents (especially rich fathers) put towards raising kids.

Comment by remizidae on What are the most powerful lotuses? · 2021-02-20T19:33:16.126Z · LW · GW

Also, some people would devote themselves to caretaking activities: lots of kids incl. foster kids, lots of dogs or cats. I’m not saying this is exactly bad, in some cases it’s good, but at extremes it can become hoarding, when the impulse to collect kids/pets overwhelms the motivation to adequately care for them.

Comment by remizidae on What are the most powerful lotuses? · 2021-02-20T19:29:58.736Z · LW · GW

Drugs, alcohol and porn. How many people have a preexisting tendency towards overuse of these substances that is kept in check by the need to get up on time for work and be reasonably productive and presentable at work? This is no limit to the amount of time an addicted person can spend pursuing their addiction.

You could extend this to other potentially addictive activities, like shopping, video games, and social media.

Comment by remizidae on The Problem with Giving Advice · 2021-02-18T12:12:58.490Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the thoughtful post. I’m not too worried about this problem because I tend to assume that people will evaluate my advice in the light of their own circumstances and needs. I have not had a problem with people blindly accepting my advice on faith, without critical thought. Maybe this would be more of a problem for a teacher of young children or famous person or CEO or someone else with a lot of prestige.

Comment by remizidae on some random parenting ideas · 2021-02-14T00:12:31.538Z · LW · GW

Check them for the alcoholism genes.

Is this possible? I did 23andme and that wasn't included.

Comment by remizidae on How Should We Respond to Cade Metz? · 2021-02-13T18:38:41.330Z · LW · GW

What does asserting the right to pseudonymity mean?

Comment by remizidae on What does the FDA actually do between getting the trial results and having their meeting? · 2021-02-13T15:10:54.584Z · LW · GW

I think this post is really valuable because it pushes people to be in information-seeking mode, rather than hortatory mode. And I’m sorry to see that I’m the only one who’s tried to answer the question, because I’m sure my answer is incomplete.

I’d like to encourage other people to really try to think and learn about why the FDA is acting this way. What is happening and why? What procedures and incentives are they operating with? Don’t jump straight to criticizing them, don’t jump to what you would do if you built the system from scratch. (And no, “fire everybody and replace them with AI” is never going to fly in the federal government.)

If this is ever going to change, we need to know what’s happening first.

Comment by remizidae on What does the FDA actually do between getting the trial results and having their meeting? · 2021-02-13T15:00:32.290Z · LW · GW

I don’t think that’s the obstacle. Lots of different people are looking at the application from different angles, and no one seems to have the sense of urgency we might think is warranted.

Comment by remizidae on What does the FDA actually do between getting the trial results and having their meeting? · 2021-02-12T16:46:44.864Z · LW · GW

I addressed this in #1 above. Even if they’ve already seen data, they’re starting from scratch as far as evaluating the Officially Submitted Data goes. Plus the number of different people and groups involved.

Comment by remizidae on What does the FDA actually do between getting the trial results and having their meeting? · 2021-02-12T14:40:50.312Z · LW · GW

I’d love to hear from someone at FDA on this. I do not work for FDA, but here’s my guess.

  1. they need to study the data they’ve been given. Although FDA will have been in communication with the drug company and seen their data all along, they probably have a rule that they can only consider data Officially Submitted as part of an Official Application. In a complex organization, most likely lots of people get involved in a big decision, including managers, lawyers, and political appointees who don’t necessarily have a lot of value to add on safety/efficacy questions but who do have enough organizational clout to ensure they don’t get bypassed even in an emergency. I’d guess for sufficiently big decisions, conversations happen with Congressional and White House staffers too.

  2. Legal requirements for notice. FDA might have to give the public notice that they are considering the approval. And the FDA has an advisory committee on vaccines, and they are required to give notice of those meetings so that the public has a chance to attend. There are probably emergency bypasses to these notice requirements, but no one is particularly incentivized to take the risk of departing from normal process.

This comment intended as description, not justification, of the existing practices.

Comment by remizidae on Unwitting cult leaders · 2021-02-11T12:40:37.959Z · LW · GW

Brainstorming some answers to my own question, I think it would help to maintain more standard social boundaries with followers. Avoid group living. Don’t have sex with followers (and don’t let on if you find any of them attractive). Don’t adopt followers into your family. Actively foster other leaders, so that group members’ dependence and demands are not centered solely on you.

Comment by remizidae on Unwitting cult leaders · 2021-02-11T12:27:23.603Z · LW · GW

How do you think it would be possible for an incipient cult leader to fight the tendency for people to idolize him or her? While still maintaining the group and staying engaged with the group? Are there any examples of people successfully doing that?

It would be possible for the incipient leader to just walk away, and in that case I would expect either the group to lose a lot of its cohesion and the good parts of cultishness—or another incipient leader might step in.

Comment by remizidae on How do you optimize productivity with respect to your menstrual cycle? · 2021-02-08T22:40:58.760Z · LW · GW

Well, I once charted my mood in relation to menstruation for a few months, and no correlations really emerged, except for an increase in libido early in menstruation. I guess I am lucky...or you're unlucky? I don't really know what the typical menstruation experience is like, tbh.

Comment by remizidae on How do you optimize productivity with respect to your menstrual cycle? · 2021-02-08T13:02:54.591Z · LW · GW

Probably obvious, but have you talked to a doctor about this? Or several doctors? That sounds terrible.

I don’t have menstruation-related symptoms severe enough to affect productivity. I also don’t use hormonal birth control.

Comment by remizidae on A Gentle Introduction on How to Use Anki to Improve Your Memory · 2021-02-04T14:06:29.861Z · LW · GW

I think you are talking about the Anki desktop app rather than the phone app or browser app?

The failure point for me was just getting Anki installed. Can I use it in a browser? Only works with Chrome. Can I use the desktop app? Only works with the latest Mac OS. Well, maybe not the latest, but newer than my computer.  So I went with a flashcard app that's not so restrictive. 

Comment by remizidae on Vaccinated Socializing · 2021-02-02T13:22:24.908Z · LW · GW

What is “it” when you say “it” makes sense?

I’ll probably wear masks in e.g. the grocery store even after being vaccinated, because I expect the law to lag the reason for the law, and because wearing a mask for ~half an hour is less costly than the risk of conflict if someone tries to make me wear a mask.

As for whether public places should enforce mask-wearing on people who claim to have been vaccinated, well, enforcement is pretty lax as it is, and I expect it’ll just get laxer as vaccination spreads. As it should.

Comment by remizidae on Would most people benefit from being less coercive to themselves? · 2021-01-21T15:07:26.533Z · LW · GW

Please define your terms at the beginning of the post. I see you have a link, but it’s broken and it’s better to have a concise definition integrated into the post rather than hoping people will click through.

Comment by remizidae on A few thought on the inner ring · 2021-01-21T05:13:22.549Z · LW · GW

If I play a zero sum game and win, that’s good for me, and not bad for the world as a whole. I don’t care about what God or an ideal observer would think, since there is no such thing. One way in which Lewis’s values are dramatically different from those of an atheist.

The only question that matters to me is whether seeking to get into the inner ring will make me happy or not. I see Lewis says it would not make me happy, but I don’t find his reasons really convincing (they seem to be a priori rather than drawn from experience).

Comment by remizidae on For Better Commenting, Avoid PONDS · 2021-01-20T02:18:18.462Z · LW · GW

I don’t agree that a one-off or “drive-by” comment is a bad thing. Yes, it might be nice sometimes to have a lengthy discussion, but, you know, this is just a website, commenting is not my job, and people have other shit to do. I’d rather get a single good comment than get nothing at all from a person who has time to write one comment but not time to be on LW every day checking to see if their comment got a response.

Comment by remizidae on Public selves · 2021-01-18T23:58:21.085Z · LW · GW

I think this post is conflating two categories of facts about myself that I might want to conceal: the weird and the disreputable. 

Example: if I only listen to 18th-century Japanese music, that's weird but not disreputable. If I'm addicted to phenibut, that's weird and disreputable. (There are also "normal" facts that are disreputable, such as "I'm depressed.") OP's example of "personal problems" would fall into the disreputable and potentially weird category.

A person's answer to the "should I be openly weird" question might not dictate their answer to the "should I be open about disreputable things" question. It can be quite dangerous to be open about disreputable things about yourself; those facts could end up destroying your relationships, ending business opportunities or getting you fired or arrested. Yes, ideally we would be in environments where we could trust our friends to keep private information private, but, people being people, you should not expect ever to be in such an ideal environment. Don't tell a friend about your personal problems unless you have accepted that everyone in that group will come to know them.

Comment by remizidae on In Defense of Twitter's Decision to Ban Trump · 2021-01-11T18:19:51.532Z · LW · GW

Re #2: you’re conflating the First Amendment and free speech. The First Amendment is one particular legal instantation of the idea of free speech, applicable in limited circumstances in one country. Establishing that there is no First Amendment problem does not establish that there is no free speech problem. And although I agree that there are important differences between government censorship and censorship by private actors, the classical liberal argument for free speech supplies reasons why even private censorship is harmful. You need to engage with these pro-free-speech arguments and explain why they don’t apply here.

Comment by remizidae on Thoughts on Mustachianism · 2021-01-11T14:33:04.106Z · LW · GW

>Suppose that you earn $4M over the course of your career, and want to spend $2M on yourself over the course of your life.

There's also a difference between MMM and EAers over how long to work. A Mustachian might earn $1M, retire, and donate any funds they happen to have over what they need. The EA person might work for decades longer, make $4M and donate $3M. So there could be very big differences in total amount donated even if the Mustachian and EA person spend the same amount on themselves. 

(Average lifetime income is in the range of $1M, is beside the point, but I couldn't resist looking it up.)


Comment by remizidae on Thoughts on Mustachianism · 2021-01-09T13:05:16.768Z · LW · GW

Thanks for these thoughts, they resonated with me as an ambivalent Mustachian.

The tension between Mustachianism and effective altruism might be relevant to some on this site. You CAN both save aggressively and give to charity, especially at a high income. But you cannot make both your #1 priority: you have to choose. MMM himself seems to have chosen saving first, and giving to charity after financial independence (he advocates on the blog for effective charities, which I admire). This is my strategy as well on the principle of saving yourself before others. But the really committed EA people seem to choose charity first, with perhaps an emergency fund or retirement savings but nowhere near the level of savings that MMM would advise. Perhaps these people are more confident about their future earning power or prioritize themselves less. Or maybe it’s a difference in attitudes to work in that some MMM folk seem desperate to get out of the workplace.

Comment by remizidae on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-07T13:46:03.176Z · LW · GW

I tried a hard lockdown in March-June with no friends, no restaurants, no travel, limited shopping, and it certainly was not a "trivial" loss. Our lifestyle and our sanity matters. I could feasibly lock down for a month or two, but I have no faith in my ability to accurately assess when that month would matter.

Where I'm coming out here is that it is not going to be feasible for most people to either lock down hard or intentionally get COVID. It's not a comfortable conclusion, because we as humans like to pretend we are in control, but aside from the extreme I-will-never-leave-my-apartment outliers, who are never going to be more than a small minority of the population, we are not in control of whether or when we get Covid.

Comment by remizidae on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-07T05:46:30.790Z · LW · GW

I’m having trouble thinking of a feasible and ethical way to get Covid intentionally. Don’t think the hospital would take kindly to a random person showing up and wanting to hang out in the Covid ward. I could increase my level of risk by going to unmasked protests or illegal parties or wherever crowds are, but if I got infected doing that, seems like in the time period between infection and test there would be a significant chance of infecting someone else, and I’m not sure that’s ethical. (Not sure it’s unethical either, given that others who engage in high risk activities have chosen the risk voluntarily, but it’s enough to give me qualms.)

Comment by remizidae on A Healthy News Diet · 2021-01-03T01:02:40.664Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the recommendation for Library Genesis. I found 4/10 of the books I searched for on there, so not as good as my local library, but it eliminates having to wait.

I'd encourage people, though, to avoid reading books on a smart phone if possible. Reading on the one device that is most likely to distract you from reading seems like a failure-prone plan. I use a Kindle for ebooks, and it's old and slow enough that I am not tempted to do anything but read on it. 

Comment by remizidae on Where are the post-COVID complainers? · 2020-12-29T20:39:15.728Z · LW · GW

Jeez, California is really trying to drive people away, huh? I’m sorry you have to live there.

Comment by remizidae on Where are the post-COVID complainers? · 2020-12-29T00:40:16.106Z · LW · GW

Yes! I kind of suspected you might be in a strict-lockdown bubble and overgeneralizing from that. BTW, you can’t legally see a single friend?!

Comment by remizidae on Where are the post-COVID complainers? · 2020-12-28T20:57:12.925Z · LW · GW

I think people who are immune are often either 1) risk-averse enough not to change their behavior or 2) responding by changing their own choices rather than pushing for changes to government restrictions.  I think your surprise is coming from over-estimating the extent to which people's behavior is driven by government rules.

The difference between my behavior currently and my probable behavior post-vaccine or post-infection would be almost entirely about changing self-imposed restrictions. I could already legally eat in restaurants outdoors, work in restaurants, go to outdoor bars, see my friends in groups of <25, shop, go to the gym, get my hair cut, or travel by plane. To the extent I don't do those things, it's my choice, not a restriction imposed by the government. (The only thing I cannot legally do that I would like to do is eat in restaurants indoors, and I expect that restriction to be lifted in a few weeks anyway. And if I really cared about eating indoors, I could just drive to the next county/state.)

Comment by remizidae on We desperately need to talk more about human challenge trials. · 2020-12-19T21:55:51.862Z · LW · GW

I strongly disagree with this idea that only a few vaccine experts should be debating the topic. Aside from a few basic technical concepts, the basic question here is ethical. Everyone can judge ethical questions. And if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that medical ethics questions are too important to be left to the experts.

Comment by remizidae on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-12T03:20:59.213Z · LW · GW

I found it, but the page would not allow me to select it.

Comment by remizidae on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-11T20:27:52.341Z · LW · GW

I did this, but they are not allowing donations to any of the top-ranked charities I searched for (Give Directly, Malaria Consortium, Against Malaria). 

Comment by remizidae on How a billionaire could spend their money to help the disadvantaged: 7 ideas from the top of my head · 2020-12-04T17:41:27.138Z · LW · GW

Re #6: why don’t people have people they can talk to about depression?

I’d like to hear more about this. Is it because people want to talk to someone about mental health but don’t have a person to talk to? Or they do have a person but don’t want to talk?

Personally I find myself keeping quiet about a lot of the important things in my life, because either 1) it’s bad and I don’t want to look bad or have the information get around, or 2) it’s good and I don’t want to brag, especially if my friend is doing less well.

Comment by remizidae on Evading Mind Control · 2020-11-25T15:57:37.582Z · LW · GW

>You cannot discover new knowledge for humanity by reading a book written by a human.

But you can discover new knowledge for yourself. Unless you think you've already read enough that you know all human knowledge. This is why rationalists so often get accused of reinventing the wheel—because if you aren't well-read, you can't tell the difference between a genuinely new idea or insight and an old one. And you may come up with a good idea but be unaware of all the downsides that other people have pointed out in books.

Maybe some people need this advice. But most people read dramatically too few books, and in particular too few books from before the 21st century.

Comment by remizidae on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-24T16:19:04.684Z · LW · GW

Have you considered the harm to physical and mental health associated with unemployment?

Comment by remizidae on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-24T16:18:14.906Z · LW · GW

Of course, for every person who spends their volunteering or gardening, there will be ten people who spend their time getting high, binge-drinking, watching TV, or playing videogames.

>getting themselves fit and healthy (exercise time +cooking healthy food time)

What is with this idea that you can't be fit and healthy and have a job? A hour for exercise per day is plenty, half an hour for cooking. It's not at all difficult to do that and have a job too. 

Comment by remizidae on Covid 11/19: Don’t Do Stupid Things · 2020-11-24T16:14:10.248Z · LW · GW

Outdoor dining in a tent has a lot more ventilation than being inside. But less ventilation than being fully outdoors. So I see your point, but it's about harm reduction. If you make people choose between being outside and unsheltered on a December evening and being inside, most of us will choose inside, so the tent, while probably more risky than fully outdoors, reduces the risk.

Comment by remizidae on Straight-edge Warning Against Physical Intimacy · 2020-11-24T15:22:22.692Z · LW · GW

It would be an unusual partner who would agree to no physical intimacy (possibly including kissing and hugging) for two weeks so that OP can "reflect on the relationship." That sends a strong signal that you're about to get dumped. 

Comment by remizidae on Straight-edge Warning Against Physical Intimacy · 2020-11-23T21:59:05.265Z · LW · GW

The big failure mode I see with physical intimacy is people rushing into major commitments (kids, marriage, moving in together) in the first two years of a relationship, when they’re still in the tempestuous, exciting, misleading phase of being “in love.” The solution is to be slower to commit.

I am not sure you can avoid the cognition-distorting effects of these hormones by avoiding physical intimacy. It’s very possible to be in love without any physical contact.

Comment by remizidae on Why are young, healthy people eager to take the Covid-19 vaccine? · 2020-11-22T20:43:45.012Z · LW · GW

I appreciate this question—good to see someone willing to go against the hyperscrupulous LW consensus. I think many people want the vaccine because of a vague idea that it will accelerate the time at which things are back to normal. Most people have suffered more from the indirect effects of the pandemic (job losses, business closures, stress, isolation) than from COVID itself.

Comment by remizidae on Why are young, healthy people eager to take the Covid-19 vaccine? · 2020-11-22T20:41:21.062Z · LW · GW

This vaccine has been approved much more quickly, and in an environment of much higher political pressure, than most. That is a reason to be more cautious about it than one might be about, say, the flu or pertussis vaccines.

Comment by remizidae on Why are young, healthy people eager to take the Covid-19 vaccine? · 2020-11-22T20:40:37.377Z · LW · GW

Whether you think there is evidence of "lasting" negative health consequences is going to depend on what you interpret as "lasting." There is lots of evidence SOME people still have symptoms a few months after infection. 

Comment by remizidae on What would a world of widespread statistical numeracy look like? · 2020-11-18T17:24:51.514Z · LW · GW

More nuclear power. Less hysteria over child sex abuse. More lenient crime policy.

In general, people would worry less about very-unlikely attention-grabbing events, which I expect would lead them to take more risks. 

Comment by remizidae on What Belongs in my Glossary? · 2020-11-02T23:20:39.606Z · LW · GW

Very Serious People/Doom Patrol.

Comment by remizidae on Non Polemic: How do you personally deal with "irrational" people? · 2020-11-02T15:41:55.907Z · LW · GW

Maybe it would help if you realized that most people most of the time are not interested in being explicitly rational. They’re focused on something else: often they’re focused on building relationships, or getting a task done, or enjoying themselves. Maybe you could try focusing on those things too, especially the relationship-building bit, instead of choosing between “tearing apart” or ignoring what they say.

Also, I don’t know how old you are, but I’ve noticed that the people I interact with have gotten more congenial over time. As a child/teen/college student, many of my interactions were with nonchosen family or classmates. Now most of my interactions are with chosen family, friends, or workmates filtered to be more like me.

Oh, and since you mention being annoyed by “experts” on the radio, maybe...don’t listen to the radio or other media. You probably don’t need to do that, you’re not getting any relationship-building benefits out of it, and it’s annoying you.