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Comment by remizidae on Should I take an IQ test, why or why not? · 2020-07-10T20:12:11.529Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don’t see a reason to. If you’re wondering “am I smart enough to do X,” there are probably more targeted ways to assess your skill in X.

Comment by remizidae on What are the risks of permanent injury from COVID? · 2020-07-10T14:33:17.597Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What is your source for "fairly common," and can you quantify that?

Comment by remizidae on Partially Stepping Down Isolation · 2020-07-08T13:41:56.969Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, that's incredibly strict. Thanks for sharing. I take it all of you are having groceries delivered (I've found it impossible to go to the store without getting <6 feet with multiple people). Are you concerned at all about taking up grocery delivery slots that high-risk people might need? Or are there plenty of grocery delivery slots in your area?

Comment by remizidae on If someone you loved was experiencing unremitting suffering (related to a constellation of multi-dimensional factors and processes, those of which include anomalous states of consciousness and an iatrogenic mental health system), what would you think and what would you do? · 2020-07-05T11:41:05.803Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If I could write an action plan for you, it would go:

  1. Get family members, you, and your brother on the same page
  2. Get brother out of hospital (perhaps by convincing him to conform for a while, perhaps via a lawyer). Of course, don’t take this step unless you have a plan for his care. Can he live with you? Are you willing to be his caregiver? What happens if he attempte suicide again or does something else that would legally warrant commitment?
  3. Is there a local Hearing Voices group? Or research Hearing Voices online. Lots of people have experience with living with the experience of hearing voices while managing the distress and disruption they can cause.
Comment by remizidae on If someone you loved was experiencing unremitting suffering (related to a constellation of multi-dimensional factors and processes, those of which include anomalous states of consciousness and an iatrogenic mental health system), what would you think and what would you do? · 2020-07-05T11:25:41.683Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is your brother in the hospital now? If so, do you have a plan for getting him out?

You might also want to talk to a lawyer to better understand the standards for involuntary psychiatric commitment, your legal options, such as guardianship, and your potential liability for attempting treatments which your brother perhaps cannot consent to, and some of which involve illegal drugs. Are your other family members on the same page?

Comment by remizidae on How to decide to get a nosejob or not? · 2020-07-03T00:52:27.777Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don’t think “Do I have a big nose” is the right question. Big isn’t necessarily bad. “Would I be more attractive after rhinoplasty?” Yes, some people will lie or avoid the question, so ask your blunt friends who also have good judgment.

Comment by remizidae on Somerville Mask Usage · 2020-06-30T16:00:45.104Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I estimate about one-third wear masks (edit: outside) in my suburb. I probably would wear one on a very crowded sidewalk, but IMO they’re not necessary in an outside place where you can reliably avoid being near others.

Comment by remizidae on What gripes do you have with Mustachianism? · 2020-06-14T23:33:23.242Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

>He also is a fan of EA. More specifically, he supports the idea of first saving up your money so that you can retire, and then spending your time on EA once you're retired.

You see, though, how there's a basic conflict between those philosophies. For the Mustachian, giving to charity only comes after you're a millionaire yourself (or however you define FI).

Comment by remizidae on What gripes do you have with Mustachianism? · 2020-06-13T00:16:20.168Z · score: 18 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like no one has brought up yet the tension between Mustachianism and EA. They both advise frugality, but the theoretical Mustachian works the minimum time necessary to become financially independent and then retires to do less or no work for pay, because their priority is freedom. The theoretical EA person would work all their life because their priority is maximizing the good done/money donated.

I find arguments for both of these philosophies compelling, but they can't be reconciled: either you choose to focus your energy towards helping yourself, a (probably) upper-middle-class American, or you're altruistic and focus your energy towards helping the most needy. Yes, even altruists spend some money on themselves, and even Mustachians typically give some money to others, but there's a basic difference in what your main goal is.

A secondary criticism is that Mustachians tend to denigrate the role of work in people's lives (oh isn't it terrible that I have to put on uncomfortable clothes and drive far away to work with people I don't like), BUT, if you look at retired Mustachians or people who are rich enough not to work, typically they just find another line of work. Having some sort of work is crucial for most people's self-esteem, self-efficacy, social lives, and even physical health.

The Mustachian riposte to this is that, even if you want to work, isn't it better if you don't have to? I agree, but I think the honest description of their movement is that it's not about retiring early, which is only a true goal for very few of us--it's just about getting rich.

Comment by remizidae on Why isn’t assassination/sabotage more common? · 2020-06-05T14:00:54.214Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not so sure it's feasible to carry out an assassination with enough secrecy that no one could know you did it. It's hard to keep a secret if the world's best intelligence agencies are all highly motivated to figure it out! Now, your word choice was "no one could necessarily _prove_ you did it," but even if it could not be proven in say an international tribunal, if other countries knew that my country did it, they could retaliate.

Comment by remizidae on Why isn’t assassination/sabotage more common? · 2020-06-04T20:24:16.498Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you’re assuming people can get starting capital by theft at an acceptable risk level, why wouldn’t they just continue with that strategy instead of escalating to the risk of murder?

Comment by remizidae on Why isn’t assassination/sabotage more common? · 2020-06-04T18:40:58.955Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Off the top of my head:

  1. People willing to commit murder are typically those with little to lose. In order to make a significant amount of money from shorting, you have to have a significant amount of money already. Yes, rich people often want more money, but they’re unlikely to tolerate the high risk of committing a murder when there are many less risky ways of making money.

  2. If the USA assassinates foreigners, foreigners can fight back. It’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain a low-assassination equilibrium instead of a high-assassination one.

  3. Some of this is done in war. Why not outside of war? See 2.

Comment by remizidae on Status-Regulating Emotions · 2020-06-04T17:07:56.161Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

>It bothers me when someone attempts to selfishly seize power.


I think this is what Eliezer is talking about. If someone tried to tell you what to do without justification, would you resent it? If so, that's the emotion. We accept being told what to do by hierarchical superiors because we believe that is what is best for the larger whole, whether that's the CEO setting direction for the company or your mom deciding what is served for dinner. People who tell others what to do outside an accepted hierarchy are perceived as acting selfishly and disruptively.

Comment by remizidae on What aspects of the world emotionally bothers you on an immediate personal level on a daily basis? · 2020-05-22T14:09:30.266Z · score: 10 (7 votes) · LW · GW

None. I think this is partly a function of age. I have as many complaints about the world as I did 10 or 20 years ago, but the extent to which I take these things personally or feel personally threatened by them, and the intensity of my emotions about them, have gone way down.

Comment by remizidae on Why do you (not) use a pseudonym on LessWrong? · 2020-05-07T21:39:41.411Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I prefer to be anonymous whenever there is not a reason to use my legal name. I see no benefit to using my legal name here.

Comment by remizidae on Reopen Protest Sign Survey · 2020-05-02T00:37:49.933Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, that is a really toxic and hateful Tumblr post. I don’t think it’s worth this sort of respectful response.

Comment by remizidae on Pueyo: How to Do Testing and Contact Tracing [Summary] · 2020-05-02T00:26:34.422Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I dearly hope that no one who has this little regard for other people's privacy and rights gets to be at all involved with the creation of such an app.

"There is a real risk that these mobile-based apps can turn unaffected individuals into social pariahs, restricted from accessing public and private spaces or participating in social and economic activities."

More criticism here: https://www.brookings.edu/techstream/inaccurate-and-insecure-why-contact-tracing-apps-could-be-a-disaster/

Comment by remizidae on How do you determine temperature cutoffs for women's body-temperature? · 2020-04-09T13:34:40.929Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is there any reason to believe the Chinese COVID testing protocol you reference is better than the American consensus? Given that you don't have any special knowledge about body temperature, going with the consensus seems preferable.

If you're too worried about COVID to go with the consensus, the safer option would be to go a few months without seeing your partner rather than convincing yourself you can personally do the research needed to achieve an unlikely level of certainty and precision about the temperature cutoff.

Comment by remizidae on How do you determine temperature cutoffs for women's body-temperature? · 2020-04-08T14:09:32.030Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I’m not a doctor, but since public health authorities don’t recommend sex-specific temperature standards, why would you? The common cutoff for fever is 100.4 F, which allows margin for the ~1 degree fluctuation around “normal” that some women experience.

I agree with the other poster that some people have unusual “normal” temperatures—mine is around 97.5 when healthy—but that’s unlikely to help you since your partner probably doesn’t have baseline healthy temperature data.

Comment by remizidae on Against Dog Ownership · 2020-03-23T15:48:03.736Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I definitely agree with point 1. We have this Enlightenment-era ideal that relationships should be egalitarian, but in fact, that is the exception, not the rule. And I could probably make an argument that no relationship is truly 100% egalitarian.

Comment by remizidae on Against Dog Ownership · 2020-03-23T13:58:02.502Z · score: 22 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Author's partial conclusions to save you a click:

  • Somewhere between many and most dog breeds should only be owned in ideal settings – farms, ranches, wilderness, etc. Owning the dogs outside of these circumstances is likely cruel.
  • Most dog owners should buy small-to-mid sized breeds with a long genetic history of high sociability and little-to-no history of work. Such dogs are the most well-suited to modern ownership. Cockapoos are actually a really good choice by these standards.
  • Unless you have a really good reason to get a thoroughbred, you should probably rescue a mutt from a dog shelter instead. Mutts are healthier, don’t contribute to the continued genetic deformity of purebreds, and can be rescued from misery and/or death in shelters.
  • Unless you have the resources to pay for a doggy-day-care where the dog spends all days with other dogs, you probably shouldn’t own a dog if you have a full time job.

This is a case of "are you asking the right question" for me. If the question is "are you giving your dog its best life," most dog owners will have to say no. If the question is "are you giving your dog a better life than it would have if you did not acquire the dog," most people who get dogs from shelters can honestly say yes. Living in a shelter or being euthanized seems clearly worse than a penned-in, neutered life as a coddled pet.

Comment by remizidae on What are some articles that updated your beliefs a lot on an important topic? · 2020-03-12T23:38:09.127Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There really isn't a gender-based wage gap; there's a childcare wage gap.


https://www.vox.com/2018/2/19/17018380/gender-wage-gap-childcare-penalty

Comment by remizidae on The Critical COVID-19 Infections Are About To Occur: It's Time To Stay Home [crosspost] · 2020-03-12T21:46:07.532Z · score: -28 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Every stranger on the Internet with a graph and a theory suddenly feels entitled to tell me what to do. I think I’ll pay more attention to what actual public health authorities advise than to rando fearmongers, thank you.

Comment by remizidae on What are sensible ways to screen event participants to reduce COVID-19 risk? · 2020-03-03T21:58:27.540Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Why not just tell people “please don’t come if you’re sick?”

Comment by remizidae on Resource on alcohol problems · 2020-02-29T03:11:21.014Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

People should be aware that formal treatment for an alcohol problem (or any substance use problem) is risky. It can make it harder to get a job of high public trust (with the government or military, or as a lawyer or doctor). It also means that if future doctors see medical records revealing you have a substance problem, you can have a harder time getting painkillers or other needed drugs. Do your own cost-benefit analysis; but my personal conclusion is that it's always better to attempt to deal with these problems on your own before getting involved in the system. Many people have gotten to abstinence or harm reduction by themselves--Moderation Management is a book that helped me.

On the other hand, if you're willing to get involved in the system, I've seen some great reviews for the Sinclair method (i.e., naltrexone). It's harder to find that other approaches, but, if it works, it allows people to break the conditioned connection between alcohol and the pleasure/relaxation/anxiety relief or whatever you get from drinking.

Comment by remizidae on [deleted post] 2020-02-17T21:40:08.101Z

Thank you, this is a high-quality contribution. I’m curious if you know how a workshop would be designed to less often trigger mania.

Comment by remizidae on Why do we refuse to take action claiming our impact would be too small? · 2020-02-11T13:06:36.431Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think this example is misleading; I could fill a water glass by myself one drop at a time, although it would take a long time. But, with many large problems such as pandemics and climate change, there is no feasible scenario where one person’s action makes a difference. Perhaps an example where I try to fill a swimming pool one drop at a time, while hundreds of gallons per minute pour out through the hole in the bottom.

Comment by remizidae on Why do we refuse to take action claiming our impact would be too small? · 2020-02-11T13:03:40.609Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If my action has a zero or infinitesimal positive impact on the relevant problem, while a negative and non-infinitesimal impact on me, cost-benefit analysis concludes I should not do it. I think OP needs to do more work to justify why they think this is not so.

Comment by remizidae on The Skewed and the Screwed: When Mating Meets Politics · 2020-01-30T02:31:34.977Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Great article! But don't read the comments on putanumonit, yeesh.

Comment by remizidae on Rationalist prepper thread · 2020-01-29T02:26:30.324Z · score: -3 (4 votes) · LW · GW
One estimation is based on the straight extrapolation of the exponential growth of the infected people number, which doubles every two days. This implies that the whole population of Earth will be ill in March. Another view takes into account that many mild cases are not included in the stat, so lethality is small and probably not everybody will be ill at all. We just don't know yet.

Both of these estimates wildly exaggerate the risk. Why in the world would we expect exponential growth to continue? Rather than "probably not everybody will be ill," our baseline should be "a few people will be ill," because that's what has been the case with almost all other epidemics.

If you don't live in China and are not planning to go to China soon, the appropriate course of action is to do nothing.

Comment by remizidae on Go F*** Someone · 2020-01-16T02:08:27.681Z · score: -10 (10 votes) · LW · GW
It’s looking at accomplished women dropping out of demanding careers to raise kids as sexism. Could it be that someone may prefer to raise a family to grinding 70 hours a week at the office once they don’t need to worry about money? I certainly would! But if the only thing you count is personal status[2] then it would seem to you that these women are being cheated out of something by the evil patriarchy.

This is a remarkably shallow way of looking at the issue. The fact that some 95%+ of people who drop out of the workforce to raise children are women should put paid to the idea that the patriarchy has nothing to do with it. Sure, work can be stressful--but men feel stress too, and somehow men don't make this same destructive "choice" to drop out of the workforce in favor of total dependence on their spouses.

Comment by remizidae on What plausible beliefs do you think could likely get someone diagnosed with a mental illness by a psychiatrist? · 2020-01-15T21:18:37.400Z · score: 23 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The manner in which the belief is expressed is likely more important than the belief itself, especially if the belief itself is...uncommonly true. “I went to an elite Special Forces school,” “I’m going to die in six months,” “The FBI is following me,” “my father is trying to kill me,” are all true for some people, but expressing them with inappropriate affect or in circumstances where those beliefs seem doubtful or irrelevant might make you seem deluded. Scott Alexander wrote about this...

Comment by remizidae on Illness anxiety disorder: how to become more rational? · 2020-01-03T22:14:25.489Z · score: 13 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Action cures fear. Stop ruminating and do the thing. Ultrasounds are always expensive IME—still, if you can come up with the money it seems worth it.

In the longer term, one thing that has helped me is to list all my nagging fears, along with their outcomes. I can go back and see how, often, the thing I was afraid of didn’t exist at all or wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared.

Comment by remizidae on An Emergency Fund for Effective Altruists · 2019-12-28T22:57:26.608Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or those who don't itemize deductions (most non-homeowners).

Comment by remizidae on An Emergency Fund for Effective Altruists · 2019-12-28T22:31:19.023Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Explain how this would be better than having the effective altruist himself or herself fund an emergency fund before they start donating to charity.

I understand you are saying that pooling the money could mean less money is kept in the fund and more can be donated, but I'm not sure that benefit outweighs the cost. While the amount of an emergency fund is the subject of some debate, IMO $10,000 per person is a decent ballpark. Say you could get that result with only $5000 per person with your proposed pool. Then does that $5000 difference outweigh 1) administrative costs, 2) cost of litigation over payouts, and 3) cost to the altruist of losing the ability to decide how much money is set aside and what happens to it?

The "tick the box" approach would lead to quickly depleting the fund. Instead, you'd have to set limits on what counts as an "emergency," and expect a whole lot of debate (and litigation) over that. A medical procedure, new car, home repair, or adopting a child are all examples of things where people might or might not consider "emergencies," depending on their personal philosophies and circumstances.

Comment by remizidae on Vaccine... Help? Deprogramming? Something? · 2019-12-28T00:27:59.773Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Most vaccines are made without (or can be made without) thimerosal. In addition, thimerosal is safe.

https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/safety-availability-biologics/thimerosal-and-vaccines

Comment by remizidae on Should I floss? · 2019-12-24T19:46:11.225Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, there’s a doubtful benefit, but the cost of flossing is very low: less than $10 a year in flossing supplies. The time cost is negligible because you can combine flossing with other activities you’d be spending time on anyway, like reading or watching videos. YMMV, but I don’t find it unpleasant—mildly satisfying in fact.Also, be aware that if you find it unpleasant, that may change as you get used to it. So the cost benefit calculation winds up positive for most people, although maybe not for you if you find it very unpleasant and that doesn’t go away after some time.

Comment by remizidae on If giving unsolicited feedback was a social norm, what feedback would you often give? · 2019-12-07T12:34:58.451Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Stop talking. Talk quietly. Stop interrupting people.

Comment by remizidae on What makes a good life? This is my map. · 2019-11-22T19:25:38.946Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why does it matter that “i am sensitive to others’ needs”? If I’m happy being selfish, that shouldn’t matter.

Comment by remizidae on Deleted · 2019-10-22T18:56:35.505Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Secondhand smoke is mostly not harmful.

Comment by remizidae on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-11T21:55:15.984Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You should probably say at the beginning of this what “paid email” is. I figured it out by the end, but it’s not a well-known term.

Comment by remizidae on Do you do weekly or daily reviews? What are they like? · 2019-08-07T00:07:13.465Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What feels most important to me:

1) Having everything I need to remember in one place, not in my brain

2) Being cued to check and add to my system regularly

3) To-do lists consisting of small, actionable steps, not big, diffuse, intimidating tasks

My system is about ten years old; it was inspired by Getting Things Done. I basically write everything down in a notebook. I have weekly, daily, monthly and long-term sections.

Advantages of using paper are that I don't need to make any conscious effort to check the notebook; having the physical object triggers me to check it regularly. Also, I can use the notebook at times when I don't want to be distracted by a phone or computer. Disadvantages are that I need to carry more objects, and if I lose the notebook, there is no real backup.

Comment by remizidae on Nutrition is Satisficing · 2019-07-16T21:44:52.598Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Food is satisficing too. I found it liberating to realize I don’t need to come up with a new meal every day. Food doesn’t have to be exciting or novel or an amazing taste sensation most of the time.

Minor point of disagreement: unless you are actively working to build muscle, you don’t have to worry about protein. The vast majority of people in Western societies already get more than enough protein. Perhaps this is different for vegans, but I’ll let them weigh in if they choose.

Comment by remizidae on How much background technical knowledge do LW readers have? · 2019-07-11T18:54:06.098Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I notice a lot of people using programming jargon/codes to discuss things that have nothing to do with programming, and it always makes their point needlessly harder to understand.

Comment by remizidae on Personal musings on Individualism and Empathy · 2019-06-07T23:49:50.030Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This would make a lot more sense with some examples of what it means to fail to "mark most significant personal information about others as salient, unless I'm explicitly told to keep it in mind."

Comment by remizidae on Nutritional Supplements: A Potted Guide? · 2019-04-22T14:25:41.351Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The first question to ask, I think, is what you are trying to accomplish with supplements. Is there a specific problem you hope supplements could help with, or are you just trying to improve on the baseline of human functioning?

This could affect what supplements you want—anti-anxiety drugs are very popular, but it's not clear you'd want them unless you have problematic anxiety. It also could affect how much you're willing to invest—if you're struggling with a serious problem, spending more money/time is probably justified than if you just want marginal improvements to baseline.

Comment by remizidae on Sunscreen. When? Why? Why not? · 2018-12-28T19:50:09.093Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No, that's not what social proof means. I'm saying a throwaway comment by a non-expert has very little probative value. Now, I'd give it more weight if Scott were actually to write a post about this topic concluding that we should all stop wearing sunscreen, because knowing him there probably would be some serious thought and research put into that. But the post you linked to basically says "it's more complicated than you might think, but the consensus is still wear sunscreen."

Comment by remizidae on Sunscreen. When? Why? Why not? · 2018-12-28T12:37:10.850Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Well, weigh a throwaway comment by Scott against the consensus of dermatologists and skin cancer specialists.

Comment by remizidae on Sunscreen. When? Why? Why not? · 2018-12-28T12:36:37.257Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If you're worried about Vitamin D deficiency, it's quite easy to supplement. Why not do that (IF you're deficient) and wear sunscreen?

As someone who actually tries to follow dermatological recommendations for sunscreen use, it's pretty hard. You have to remember it every time you leave the house, be motivated enough to go through a tedious and bad-smelling task, cover *all* the exposed skin. If you're outside for a significant time, you have to remember to bring the sunscreen and reapply every hour. So, it's hard to believe that most people who spend time outside and wear sunscreen are actually doing it enough to avoid D exposure.

My read of the research is that the controllable risk factors for D deficiency are never going outside + poor diet + not supplementing, rather than overzealous sunscreen use.

Comment by remizidae on In what ways are holidays good? · 2018-12-28T12:32:11.651Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW
  • Why are holidays more relaxing than just lying in bed at home and paying somebody else to take care of you?

They're really not. If we just wanted to relax, we would continue our daily routines with fewer obligations. Holidays are about seeing new things, often accompanied by earned relaxation. E.g. it might be relaxing to lay around on the beach, but it'll be more satisfying if you've first gone to some effort to get there, explore, learn things.

  • Does visiting family count as a holiday in the relevant sense?

I wouldn't count a family visit as a vacation as it doesn't (typically) mean visiting a new place. Whether it's relaxing would depend on your family.

  • How much money should I be willing to spend on holidays?

Start with something very cheap and see whether you like it.

In general, people on vacation tend to pursue the same activities that people not on vacation do. So, if you like eating in restaurants, drinking, talking to strangers, going to museums, hiking, biking, reading, walking around cities, going to concerts, or spending time with friends in your normal free time, you'll probably like doing the same things on vacation.