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Comment by renato on My dad got stung by a bee, and is mildly allergic. What are the tradeoffs involved in deciding whether to have him go the the emergency room? · 2020-04-18T23:30:50.255Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm glad you could already find the answer for it, and I hope your dad gets better.

I'm writing just to say something that has worked for me (I'm also allergic). When I was stung by a wasp, I found that applying a cold compress reduced the swelling considerably, and I recovered in a matter of hours. When it happened before and I didn't use the cold compress, I remember it taking days to recover, and I could not walk properly while it was swelled. Both times I was stung on my ankle.

Comment by renato on Hydroxychloroquine: the day science stopped · 2020-04-05T19:01:06.856Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The paragraph that starts with "Fourth, ..." is shown twice.

Comment by renato on Coming Back to Biking · 2020-03-07T12:44:27.742Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hurting knees can be due to riding in too high a gear.

Another common mistake is having the saddle height too low, forcing you to bend the leg too much and putting more stress on the knees to move the pedals down. Even a few centimeters (~5cm) can make a big difference, but it will feel strange at the beginning and it take some rides to get completely accustomed to the different movement.

Comment by renato on Has anyone used TAPs to combat BFRBs? · 2020-01-03T13:36:26.560Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I could stop biting my nails using some TAPs.

Installing the TAPs took at most a few days, and I think I might have failed and bit the nails some times. It took around a month to get the nails long enough that I could cut and polish them, and after a while the TAPs disappeared completely because I didn't need them anymore. According to my journal, I started using the TAPs on 20180612 and cut my nails on 20180714, and there is also a register on 20180703 that I was not using the TAPs because their trigger had disappeared.

I think that what made me bite my nails was that they had a dent or something like that that I could play with, and after I did some damage to it using other nails, I eventually bit it to remove that part that stood too much (I still do something similar with the skin around my nails, and I've never thought about getting rid of it). After I could cut them for the first time, I only bit them once when one of them get broken. I don't remember exactly how I felt at the time (I haven't write about how I felt in my journal), but I think it was like an accident that happened and I just had to keep doing what I was doing and everything would be fine.

I remember that I had bitten my nails since I was around 10 or even younger (I'm 30 now), and I couldn't stop definitively until I used the TAPs, sometimes the nails would grow, but eventually they regressed to the bitten state.

I used two TAPs:

  • Biting nails #1
    Trigger: Looking at my nails
    Action: Close my hand

  • Biting Nails #2
    Trigger: Rubbing my fingers with the thumb
    Action: Open hand
    It is a complementary trigger to avoid damaging the nails without even looking.

I didn't have a TAP for biting the nails (having my finger in the mouth) because I never noticed doing it without looking at them first.

It has been one and a half year since I stopped, and I think I might have bitten the nails some times, but it was not enough to keep biting them similarly to the case described above.

Comment by renato on l · 2019-12-31T01:35:23.672Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The software I'm using is AutoKey. What do you use? Are you happy with it?

I'm using LXDE as a desktop environment and it allows you to set the shortcuts in its config file. If I'm not mistaken, other flavors, like GNOME and KDE, had a GUI to bind a certain key sequence to a script.

It seems that it catches the keybindings instantaneously and any lag is due starting a program called by the script, but it is usually around 1 second, which is similar to launch the program independently.

Autokey sounded very promising, but it is too slow. I wanted to port my emacs keybindings to use system wide, but it was impossible to use due to its lags.

This is also a good idea. I'm pretty fast at typing and pretty slow with the mouse, so I'd probably instead make a macro for "prompt me for a search key, open a new tab, search that thing, then take me back to the tab I was in before".

My (shell) scripts are pretty simple, the one that prompt me for a search query is:

xclip -o -selection p > query.temp
leafpad query.temp
query=$(<query.temp)
key=${query%%[ .:]*}  # get only the first word or 'www' or 'http*'
case $key in
    "wiki") # search on wikipedia
	term=${query#* } # get from second word to end
	url="https://www.wikipedia.org/search-redirect.php?family=wikipedia&language=en&go=Go&search="
    ;;
    ## Other cases omitted
    *) # didn't matched anything -> search on web
	# there is a command --search, but it opens a new window
	url="https://duckduckgo.com/?q="
	term=$query
    ;;
esac
/opt/firefox/firefox --new-tab "$url$term"
rm query.temp # remove the temp fifo

And a fast search of the current selected text:

query=$(xclip -o -selection p)
if [[ $query =~ ^(http|www).*$ ]]; then
    url=$query
elif [[ $query =~ ^.*\..{2,3}(/[^ ]*)?$ ]]; then
    url=$query
else
    url="https://duckduckgo.com/?q="$query
fi
/opt/firefox/firefox --new-tab "$url"

I started with the first one, which offers more flexibility, but most of time I use the fast one and I edit the query if it doesn't return the desired results.

Comment by renato on l · 2019-12-30T13:57:50.156Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It is really nice to have someone reporting on those little things that make a good (unseen) impact on their workflow and that we usually don't even consider the possibility of having them. I have something like that implemented and I also noticed that reducing those small frictions result in much more notes and less disruption of the current task, you think of something, a note is added in a few seconds and you can continue working on.

They are also surprisingly easy to implement, and I got surprised how fast it took me to have something functional. I think the effort put into writing the script was paid back pretty fast, since some of them took just some minutes to write and test. But, I think the biggest obstacle to do something like that is having the idea and some basic knowledge of programming to do it, and I'm not sure how to transfer it to other people. Maybe giving them the code with very detailed comments and providing some step-by-step tutorial of how to do it. Would you mind sharing your code?

Now, to add a note to such a file, all I have to do is click inside the command-prompt I have in the top corner of my screen, type "l " plus the name of the list,

I found that using some keybindings to rely solely on the keyboard also made a good improvement. There are several available keys that can be used to call the scripts directly, and if it depends on a parameter as in your case, I use the system tool that ask for a command then run it, on LXDE it is A-F2 or W-r (the same from windows).

I recommend also implementing some scripts to search on the web what is selected by the cursor or open a text file to get a query to be searched. While I'm reading I just open new tabs in the browser to find things I want to look for more details. I doesn't interrupt the reading flow and I also don't forget to search for them later (and I don't have more the thought that there was something I wanted to search by I don't remember what).

Comment by renato on Ungendered Spanish · 2019-12-08T20:59:00.857Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Portuguese uses the same vowels terminations for genders, but our articles are a simple 'a or 'o' (instead of 'la' 'lo') and we also use 'e' as the and connector. It means that the vowels 'i' and 'u' would still free for the third gender, but we do some vocal accommodation orally (I'm not sure about the correct linguist term) and often the sound 'e' becomes 'i' and 'o' becomes 'u' (it does not happen the other way). Because of that, all of our vowels are already "taken" with just two genders.

I found it fascinating that it works so well in Spanish and not at all in Portuguese, even with both languages being very similar (I feel that Portuguese is slightly more gendered than Spanish).

Comment by renato on Replace judges with Keynesian beauty contests? · 2019-10-07T16:36:18.131Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I liked how your idea resembles the aggregation used in prediction markets. But, I'm not sure how it would reflect in the number of cases judged by judge after considering that they receive the same ones to review. If the ratio of KBCJ to normal ones is high, there will be a waste from too many people review the same cases, and you are trading efficiency for more predictability, but it might cost too much in money terms. If it is low, and the pay rate is higher than the normal ones, it can create two different judging modes, the normal where they will still have more freedom to choose, and the KBCJ where they pay more attention to an aggregator to aim for conformity. It feels like the two modes students have, one more relaxed to learn, and another one more focused to get a better grade on a test, even if it involves reducing the amount learn to get a better grade.

Would this system be expanded to cover both sides lawyers by punishing those who make claims that are expected to be losers considering the KBCJ judgement?

Comment by renato on How do you learn foreign language vocabulary, beyond Anki? · 2019-08-27T02:37:55.724Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

They are not too complex nor rare, so I suggest that you use some related words to increase your exposition to them in a slightly different way. More concretely what I usually do for hard word is:

  • Pick the noun that derived the adjective/adverb, or the other one.

    For example, dangerous (gefährliche) <-> danger (gefähr ??) I rely mostly on the suffix like 'lich', because it preserve the original word. There are other ones like in the case of imagine(d) -> imagination, and as your vocabulary expands and you are able to recognize them easier the memorization gets easier.

  • Pick the antonym or some related words that strongly associated with the original word.

    For example, danger -> safety, or -> accident. As your vocabulary expands, you will probably be able to easily identify the other word to give the context you need to recall the hard word. You can also employ some kind of code to denote that it is the antonym , like 'danger <> safety', or have a specific relation.

  • Pick some longer words that are composed by the hard one and a word you already know.

    It seems counter-intuitive, but some of them are easier than the root word because each of them restrict the possible meaning of the other one. It does not have to be a single word, but one that both words usually come together, like 'finally reached' or ' ready for use'. You can also "cheat" and just pick the words that appeared in the original sentence. It feels like "over-fitting", but it is amazing how can you sometimes remember where you read the word for the first time and what it was its context.

I also noticed that most words are already formed by a prefix. I'm not sure how regular are the words in German when you remove or change their prefixes, but it might also help to get the shorter ones memorized, and then the ones built from them will be easier to learn.

Comment by renato on How do you learn foreign language vocabulary, beyond Anki? · 2019-08-26T22:44:10.772Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A little unrelated to you original question, but it seems useful.

I could add "learn to write" to my goals but that seems significantly harder to self teach, because checking my work is harder than looking up the same sentence in the English version of the book.

You can try Lang-8 where some native speakers correct your writing while you do the same for some other users. I used it in the past and the community was very good, the texts I submitted were corrected very fast (it depended on the time I have posted them, but usually less than a day, and sometimes in a few minutes), and most users also added some good comments on how to sound more natural or some suggestions of alternatives.

Comment by renato on How do you learn foreign language vocabulary, beyond Anki? · 2019-08-26T22:26:48.993Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Can you give an example of the words that you cannot memorize and the sentence they are coming from (with a translation)?

Are those basic words or probably some rare ones? Depending on the frequency of those words appearing again I would suggest either:

  • If they are fairly common, add some related words to force some redundancy.

    I use Anki to memorize Japanese vocabulary, and in my case I pick words that share the same kanji than the hard word. For example, the word 図書館 (library) can be made redundant and easier to remember by adding 図書係 (librarian) and 図書 (books).

    Bigger words sometimes are composed of two (or more) smaller ones, which are easier to memorize and also help to remember the original one (I know it happens sometimes in German, but I'm not sure how frequent they are). I guess that you can pick some words with the same roots in German, but I'm not sure how easy is to find them in a dictionary or some other source.

  • If they are somehow obscure, it might be better to drop them for now.

    As you mentioned, you are spending much more time on those words than the others and it seems it is not helping to memorize them now. That time could be used to learn other words, and it might be a better use of it. And, if you are exposed to those hard words again in the future, with a bigger vocabulary, it may be easier to remember them by having a more solid base (for example, some words were very difficult to grasp in the past, but similar words now are much easier). Sometimes seeing a word that was hard for me in a different context make a huge difference and I can easily remember them, and it is not just the effect of being exposed to it again.

Comment by renato on Let's Read: Superhuman AI for multiplayer poker · 2019-07-13T20:54:01.614Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A very interesting analysis of an interesting article. I'm not familiar with AI development and because of that my questions may be too elementary.

Its major strength is its ability to use mixed strategies... to do this in a perfectly random way and to do so consistently. Most people just can't.

It amazes me how much of the advantage from AI and other computer programs are derived from their lower bias than humans.

Because poker is played commercially, the risk associated with releasing the code outweighs the benefits. To aid reproducibility, we have included the pseudocode for the major components of our program in the supplementary materials.

It took 2 professionals to develop its algorithm and one of them to code it. As I understand, with the provided pseudocode it would require only to code it again to create a new instance of the AI. Or, is there something crucial that is missing? Can you estimate how much work/cost would be necessary to do that?

Could you include a link to the analyzed article on the introduction? It is easy to find, but it feels strange without a direct link.

Comment by renato on Prospect Theory: A Framework for Understanding Cognitive Biases · 2019-03-21T02:35:20.339Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The images are not working anymore.

The wayback machine has a stored copy here.

Comment by renato on Applied Picoeconomics · 2018-12-01T02:01:47.119Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The original website is down. This is an archived version around the same time the article was published: https://web.archive.org/web/20090703042537/http://www.picoeconomics.com/breakdown.htm

Comment by renato on The Valley of Bad Theory · 2018-10-06T14:16:22.842Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW
Well… not necessarily. We’re talking here about a wheel, with weights on it, rolling down a ramp. Mathematically, this system just isn’t all that complicated. Anyone with an undergrad-level understanding of mechanics can just crank the math, in all of its glory. Take no shortcuts, double-check any approximations, do it right. It’d be tedious, but certainly not intractable. And then… then you’d understand the system.

I guess the idea was to emulate a problem without a established theory, and it was chosen to provide a simple setup for changing the parameters and visualizing the results.

Imagine that instead of this physics problem it was like Eliezer Yudkowsky's problem to find the rule that explain a sequence of numbers, where you cannot find someone who already developed a solution for it. It is easier to generate a set of numbers that satisfies the rule (similar to the iterative optimization) than the rule/theory itself, as each of those proposed rules are falsified by the next iterations.

If it was modified to generate an output to be maximized instead of a true/false answer, the iterative optimization would get a good result faster, but not the optimal solution. If you played this game several times, the optimizers would probably get good heuristic to find a good solution, while the theorizers might find a meta-solution that solves all the games.

For me it looks like that if that experiment was extended to more iterations (and maybe some different configurations of communication between each generation and between independent groups) you would get a simple model of how science progress. Theory pays in the long term, but it might be hindered if the scientist refuse to abandon their proposed/inherited solution.

Comment by renato on Saving the world in 80 days: Epilogue · 2018-07-31T19:38:40.913Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for the information.

I've finally finished some kind of mandatory material I had to cover for some exams.

Even as I probably failed them, I still learned some stuff in the process, and now I'm almost free to pursue something more interesting.

Thank you for the invitation.

Although, the artificial intelligence and related topics interest me a little, I'm still lacking several of the basic requisites.

I will try to focus on them first, and then decide what to do next.

Comment by renato on Saving the world in 80 days: Epilogue · 2018-07-29T11:34:43.061Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
I understand your first equation 3*30= 90 hr (3 hrs/day* 30 days = 90 hrs to complete a book). The second one is a bit confusing. 3*eff*90 = ~30 hours. (3 hrs/day * 1/9 efficiency * 90 ? = ~30 hours) Was the second 90 supposed to be 30 to make efficiency 30%?

Yes, I put the wrong number.

I would say my average was 4 hours during almost two months. I could notice it slowly increasing, but every time I need to change to a new subject/different kind of activity (from reading a non-math book to one that requires more exercises) my time plummeted. After a few days I could increase it again.

I think it was not tiredness per se, because I did not have any problem with stopping studying and starting reading fiction or blogs. I guess it was more that I took too much information and needed to left it organize itself into my mind.

I wanted to compare the study paces because 3 hours of effective study is much more demanding than a 3 hours study slot time.

I can easily reserve 3~6 hours a day for mainly studying, if that includes taking some breaks to reply emails, or fix some small unrelated bugs. I can probably divide it into different subjects and try them for some time and eventually drop what does not work.

However, 3~6 hours of effective or pure study per day is something that would make me much more tired. In that case I would try to focus on just one thing now, while trying to work on some meta-techniques/skills to focus on long-term.

It is more a planning question to adjust how much I should focus on a subject or on a broad range of topics/bugs. But it actually is not that important.

Comment by renato on Saving the world in 80 days: Epilogue · 2018-07-29T01:11:28.236Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
I interpret that to mean "how many pages per day"/"How many chapters per week"/"How many books per month". If that's correct, then I would say I could (right now) learn a subject/book a month. Like I could read Linear Algebra Done Right in less than a month and Tao's Analysis I & II in less than two months, while doing all of the exercises.

It wasn't exactly that, but it still a very good information.

I will try to describe it with my own experience.

When I read Nate's post, he said that he studied 5~7 hours per day. At that time, I was logging exactly how long I was studying each day to measure how much time it took me to do some tasks related to studying to estimate how long the whole process it would take. In my case, I started the clock, and started reading. If I took a break, the clock was stopped.

However, the most productive days I had, when I was in my best humor and everything worked perfectly, I could reach around 6~7 hours. This left me wondering if he was really human to keep such high number for a long period.

When I checked somewhere else (probably some comments) he said that his study efficiency was around 30 % (not sure about the number, but something like that). The rest of the time he spent convincing himself to do it, to continue, or trying to process what he had read.

Because of that, it was an extraordinary amount, but it was not an order of magnitude higher than my effort.

I tried to do some more relaxed measure to compare with his number, but I usually took some long breaks to do something else, and I could not consider that into a study time.

When I read your post, it made me curious to know if those 3 hours would be combined into 3*30 -> 90 hours to read a book and learn a subject, or 3*eff*30 -> ~30 hours ?

edit: I mistake the numbers, the second one should also have been 30.

Comment by renato on Saving the world in 80 days: Epilogue · 2018-07-28T18:16:25.541Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Congratulations on finishing this 80 days journey.

It is always nice to read some feedback from people after they finished a long project like that.

I have been reading some of Nate Soares' post recently, and I'm still fighting with myself to start trying to do something similar. I hope I can start something like that soon. Your post gave me an extra motivation to do it.

Can you detail a little more how much time you spent on each activity you set on the other post? If you didn't followed the set amount, when did you decide to change them?

About the study/reading sessions, how much efficiency do you estimate you could achieve? By efficiency I mean the time you were effectively doing that, not considering some breaks or internal struggles, compared with the allotted time .

Comment by renato on Who Wants The Job? · 2018-07-25T03:00:10.552Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW
The vast majority of people who were on a job site, seeking a job, were not capable of tasks like: Write a profile page in English without major mistakes. Respond promptly when an employer contacts you to respond to your application. Talk politely on the phone and sound like you are listening and care about the job. Show up to your interview.

If there are several jobs open, and the chances of being hired after jumping through the hoops is 50%, some of the candidates probably found something better, and stopped wasting their time on a lower position.

There are some other factors that might justify their behavior as impolite, but not incompetent. For example: If there is no expectation of an answer if you failed to progress to the next step, the candidates might use their silence/unresponsiveness to signal that you "failed" as a hirer.

It also feels like a waste of the hirer's time to have to read a notice that you dropped out of the selection, if you expect that they have other candidates and you haven't set an interview.

It also looks like there are no costs to apply to several positions (in monetary terms and also as a punishment for future hirings), and the best strategy is to apply to anything and then select the best one later.