My guess for why I was wrong about US housing 2023-06-14T00:37:04.162Z
Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade 2023-06-08T23:02:14.761Z
Exploring Tacit Linked Premises with GPT 2023-03-24T18:09:10.087Z
Buddhist Psychotechnology for Withstanding Apocalypse Stress 2023-02-25T03:11:18.735Z
Thoughts on ADHD 2020-10-07T20:46:24.827Z
Your Prioritization is Underspecified 2020-07-10T20:48:29.654Z
PSA: Cars don't have 'blindspots' 2020-07-01T17:04:06.690Z
Which facebook groups on covid do you recommend? 2020-03-23T22:34:15.125Z
How to Lurk Less (and benefit others while benefiting yourself) 2020-02-17T06:18:54.978Z
[Link] Ignorance, a skilled practice 2020-01-31T16:21:23.062Z
Is there a website for tracking fads? 2019-12-06T04:48:51.297Z
Schematic Thinking: heuristic generalization using Korzybski's method 2019-10-14T19:29:14.672Z
Towards an Intentional Research Agenda 2019-08-23T05:27:53.843Z
romeostevensit's Shortform 2019-08-07T16:13:55.144Z
Open problems in human rationality: guesses 2019-08-02T18:16:18.342Z
87,000 Hours or: Thoughts on Home Ownership 2019-07-06T08:01:59.092Z
The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism) 2019-04-07T21:04:11.353Z
Why do Contemplative Practitioners Make so Many Metaphysical Claims? 2018-12-31T19:44:30.358Z
Psycho-cybernetics: experimental notes 2018-09-18T19:21:03.601Z


Comment by romeostevensit on Luck based medicine: angry eldritch sugar gods edition · 2023-09-20T05:12:55.532Z · LW · GW

I have a friend with potentially mast cell mediated digestion issues who had not heard of boswellia so thanks for something new to try.

Comment by romeostevensit on Reflexive decision theory is an unsolved problem · 2023-09-17T23:12:59.062Z · LW · GW

I hadn't put this name to things and I'm happy to have some way of mentally tagging it. It has seemed to me that many sources of 'irrationality' in people's decision theory relate to resistance against negative reflexive effects. Eg why resist information streams from certain sources? Bc being seen to update on certain forms of information creates an incentive to manipulate or goodhart that data stream.

Comment by romeostevensit on What's up with psychonetics? · 2023-09-17T01:43:04.996Z · LW · GW

the manual? No, it was similar to what you linked to anyway.

Comment by romeostevensit on What's up with psychonetics? · 2023-09-16T06:36:22.109Z · LW · GW

I read a manual on it a few years ago when I was surveying various non-eastern psychotech stacks. The main technique seemed reminiscent of the way samurai trained in zen for combat advantage, becoming aware of the negative ways stressors affect perception and directly training those aspects of perception to be less affected. It didn't seem broadly interesting enough to directly pursue relative to other psychotech (eg the book Psychocybernetics).

Comment by romeostevensit on The Flow-Through Fallacy · 2023-09-13T05:10:13.037Z · LW · GW

Related effects referred to under the headings of lost purposes and principle agent problems.

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-09-10T07:45:56.946Z · LW · GW

You can see that the difference isn't huge even when going down to much lower loads. So the difference between 60 and 80% intensity is unlikely to be very large.

Comment by romeostevensit on Bring back the Colosseums · 2023-09-09T00:11:15.452Z · LW · GW

In order to make such things more real, I propose a format where the loser is contractually obligated to get a vasectomy.

Comment by romeostevensit on Sharing Information About Nonlinear · 2023-09-08T23:23:03.814Z · LW · GW

+1 I think it's important to keep in context the other claims about employees being treated poorly/low status. Abuse can be hard to judge from the outside because it can revolve around each individual incident being basically okay in isolation. A difficult and unfortunately common case is where both experiences are basically true. A person genuinely had an experience of abuse while the purported abuser genuinely had an experience of things seeming okay/copacetic in day to day interactions. Eg "we'll destroy our enemies haha" can unfortunately be in a grey zone between lightheartedness, abuse, or the latter masked as the former.

Comment by romeostevensit on Meta Questions about Metaphilosophy · 2023-09-07T17:15:45.115Z · LW · GW

Also I wrote this a while back

Comment by romeostevensit on Feedback-loops, Deliberate Practice, and Transfer Learning · 2023-09-07T08:10:22.130Z · LW · GW

A corollary of Chapman's 'if something seems hard the representation is probably wrong': if your working memory is overloaded, try changing what you pay attention to. In this particular case, paying attention to each monster on the screen in down well might be expensive compared to paying attention to the properties of open/safe spaces or paths. This figure ground inversion is also the point of bullet hells.

Strongly agree with the description of how transfer might actually work (relative to the Latin->math magical thinking). It's especially funny because It's a self referential error, the person who glosses over just how that's supposed to work is also the person who will gloss over the things that make transfer learning work.

I also think there's something really weird going on in terms of development psychology where kids are much better at transfer and then it gets broken by our education model or something. I definitely felt like noticing started being penalized at some point and most of the adults were in on it. It occurs to me that in addition to the concept of a 'summon sapience' spell, it's also useful (but harder) to notice the 'banish sapience' spell.

Comment by romeostevensit on Defunding My Mistake · 2023-09-05T20:10:44.182Z · LW · GW

Forced labor was definitely a thing, though it's hard to find much detail

(This kids article was a lot more concise than other sources that focused on wildly different aspects)

Comment by romeostevensit on Defunding My Mistake · 2023-09-04T19:59:58.156Z · LW · GW

Exile can either be administered by the state, in which case it's an open air prison, or by emergent criminal gangs. Forced labor emerges either way I think.

Comment by romeostevensit on Rational Agents Cooperate in the Prisoner's Dilemma · 2023-09-02T16:45:54.190Z · LW · GW

I cooperate unless I have knowledge that the other person is an academic.

Comment by romeostevensit on Meta Questions about Metaphilosophy · 2023-09-01T06:02:02.112Z · LW · GW

When I look at metaphilosophy, the main places I go looking are places with large confusion deltas. Where, who, and why did someone become dramatically less philosophically confused about something, turning unfalsifiable questions into technical problems. Kuhn was too caught up in the social dynamics to want to do this from the perspective of pure ideas. A few things to point to.

  1. Wittgenstein noticed that many philosophical problems attempt to intervene at the wrong level of abstraction and posited that awareness of abstraction as a mental event might help
  2. Korzybski noticed that many philosophical problems attempt to intervene at the wrong level of abstraction and posited that awareness of abstraction as a mental event might help
  3. David Marr noticed that many philosophical and technical problems attempt to intervene at the wrong level of you get the idea
  4. Hassabis cites Marr as of help in deconfusing AI problems
  5. Eliezer's Technical Explanation of Technical Explanation doesn't use the term compression and seems the worse for it, using many many words to describe things that compression would render easier to reason about afaict.
  6. Hanson in the Elephant in the Brain posits that if we mysteriously don't make progress on something that seems crucial, maybe we have strong motivations for not making progress on it.

Question: what happens to people when they gain consciousness of abstraction? My first pass attempt at an answer is that they become a lot less interested in philosophy.

Question: if someone had quietly made progress on metaphilosophy how would we know? First guess is that we would only know if their solution scaled well, or caused something to scale well.

Comment by romeostevensit on Dating Roundup #1: This is Why You’re Single · 2023-08-30T17:15:14.891Z · LW · GW

Times in my life I've been single I found myself attracted to about one person per year. This might make sense if my hind brain thinks I'm living in a tribe or something.

Comment by romeostevensit on Eliezer Yudkowsky Is Frequently, Confidently, Egregiously Wrong · 2023-08-27T02:39:14.448Z · LW · GW

and Deepak deserves praise for that even if his positions are wrong.

Comment by romeostevensit on Eliezer Yudkowsky Is Frequently, Confidently, Egregiously Wrong · 2023-08-27T02:18:40.576Z · LW · GW

I can sympathize with the frustration, and I also think the assertion that EY has "No idea what he is talking about" is too strong. He argues his positions publicly such that detailed rebuttals can be made at all, which is a bar the vast majority of intellectuals fail at.

Edit: I reread the FDT rebuttal for the first time since it came out just to check, and I find it as unconvincing now as then. The author doesn't grasp the central premise of FDT, that you are optimizing not just for your present universe but across all agents (many worlds or not) who implement the same decision function you are implementing.

Comment by romeostevensit on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-25T15:27:53.160Z · LW · GW

Maybe coconut milk, macadamia nuts, fruit, and vegetables?

Comment by romeostevensit on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-23T23:48:13.900Z · LW · GW

I strongly recommend against water fasts exceeding 5-7 days, though I'm sure you've already heard many such objections. Even a small amount of calories from the modified fasting mimicking protocol (the easy version is just guacamole) + electrolytes is dramatically safer.

Comment by romeostevensit on What is science? · 2023-08-11T08:18:54.802Z · LW · GW

See the demarcation problem and theories of scientific explanation.

Comment by romeostevensit on Feedbackloop-first Rationality · 2023-08-07T21:10:41.102Z · LW · GW

I'd be up for attempting to transfer some learning about this that I had.

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-08-06T17:38:59.609Z · LW · GW

I can't get full range of motion without a significant box height (18 inches). And that's with leaning into it to get more ROM. Like this:

Comment by romeostevensit on Cultivating a state of mind where new ideas are born · 2023-07-31T18:23:21.544Z · LW · GW

See also John Cleese on creativity, subsequently turned into a short book when it went viral.

And The Net and the Butterfly by Olivia Fox Cabane

Comment by romeostevensit on "Not Necessarily" · 2023-07-31T18:20:04.964Z · LW · GW

I like this line of reasoning and will reflect more on what I'll dub 'reflection triggers.'

Comment by romeostevensit on Lack of Social Grace Is an Epistemic Virtue · 2023-07-31T18:16:06.869Z · LW · GW

Disagree. Social graces are not only about polite lies but about social decision procedures on maintaining game theoretic equilibria to maintain cooperation favoring payoff structures.

I've observed the thesis posited here before IRL and it appeared to be motivated reasoning about the person's underlying proclivity towards disagreeableness. I can sympathize as I used to test in the 98th percentile on disagreeableness, but realized this was a bad strategy and ameliorated it somewhat.

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-07-31T18:07:35.378Z · LW · GW

I believe there were two attempts, guessing it's somewhat non obvious how to resolve.

Comment by romeostevensit on Socialism in large organizations · 2023-07-30T23:00:03.774Z · LW · GW

He got it from his father who saw the strong contrast between USSR and American ways of doing things.

Wikipedia: "extended litigation blocked Winkler-Koch from selling the technology in the U.S. for several years.[12] In the words of Jane Mayer, "Unable to succeed at home, Koch found work in the Soviet Union."[15] Between 1929 and 1932 Winkler-Koch supported the Kremlin and "trained Bolshevik engineers to help Stalin's regime set up fifteen modern oil refineries"[attribution needed] in the Soviet Union during its first five-year plan.[16][17][18] According to Mayer, "Over time ... Stalin brutally purged several of Koch's Soviet colleagues. Koch was deeply affected by the experience, and regretted his collaboration."

For the rest of his life he would push against centralizing influences in decision processes. This often took the form of encouraging competition, skin in the game, and profit sharing for those who did well. Charles continued developing this playbook.

Comment by romeostevensit on Socialism in large organizations · 2023-07-30T16:15:14.578Z · LW · GW

This is the thesis of Charles Koch's book on scientific management: if markets are so great why not allow them inside the walls if the company? Imo, what he does, buy low margin businesses and improve them, is much more impressive than what Buffett does, buying good margin businesses and leaving them be.

Comment by romeostevensit on Why You Should Never Update Your Beliefs · 2023-07-29T20:54:29.254Z · LW · GW

I have a slightly different take which you should plausibly ignore: analysis tries to masquerade as wisdom if you let it. One aspect of wisdom could be described as knowing which things are worth arguing about and what would really constitute evidence for changing something important/load bearing.

Comment by romeostevensit on What are examples of someone doing a lot of work to find the best of something? · 2023-07-27T16:32:32.470Z · LW · GW

Due to foot pain I went through around 20 pairs of running shoes and went to two run labs where they filmed my gait in slow motion to figure out why I couldn't run more than a couple miles. Knowing what sorts of shoes work best for me was a good outcome of paying the one time costs.

Comment by romeostevensit on Toni Kurz and the Insanity of Climbing Mountains · 2023-07-25T16:23:49.249Z · LW · GW

It's somewhat an applause light being a paraphrase and extension of a Nick Bostrom quote.

Comment by romeostevensit on Could induced and stabilized hypomania be a desirable mental state? · 2023-07-23T18:21:12.159Z · LW · GW
Comment by romeostevensit on Tuning your Cognitive Strategies · 2023-07-16T08:33:58.865Z · LW · GW


Comment by romeostevensit on Why was the AI Alignment community so unprepared for this moment? · 2023-07-15T17:59:08.884Z · LW · GW

To paraphrase a superforecaster friend: 'one of the problems with the rationalist community is they don't actually do scenario analysis.'

Comment by romeostevensit on Tuning your Cognitive Strategies · 2023-07-15T02:16:45.647Z · LW · GW

I didn't, I'm naming some similar things based on their writing that I went through.

Comment by romeostevensit on OpenAI Launches Superalignment Taskforce · 2023-07-13T10:16:00.675Z · LW · GW

Almost all new businesses fail

Not super important but I wish rationalists would stop parroting this when the actual base rate is a Google search away. Around 25% of businesses survive for fifteen years or more.

Comment by romeostevensit on Introducing · 2023-07-08T07:48:08.747Z · LW · GW

Nice! relatedly: some EA made a Shapley Value calculator:

Comment by romeostevensit on Optimized for Something other than Winning or: How Cricket Resists Moloch and Goodhart's Law · 2023-07-05T17:30:36.121Z · LW · GW

I'm reminded of speedrunning where games often have a spectrum of categories from all glitches allowed to "beating the game as intended."

Comment by romeostevensit on Meta-rationality and frames · 2023-07-03T08:15:31.102Z · LW · GW

This feels like an attempt to bootstrap Kegan fours to fives. I don't know of any model that explains when and why people make the transition. One hypothesis I have is that it involves what in Kegan four is the universal quantifier and in Kegan five turns into 'meta all the way up' or otherwise collapsing the infinite self referential stack by finding a flexible enough representation that it can take itself as an argument. When this happens while you're identified with the representation it causes a weird phenomenological effect.

Comment by romeostevensit on My "2.9 trauma limit" · 2023-07-02T16:25:15.751Z · LW · GW

Hatha or whatever is fine, it's just a focus on training the nervous system rather than muscular strength. Going slowly and paying attention to the breath and heart beat are very helpful. Trauma releasing exercises might also work but I don't have experience with them.

Comment by romeostevensit on Consider giving money to people, not projects or organizations · 2023-07-02T16:22:48.287Z · LW · GW

Organizations becoming flush with cash makes them a target for bad actors and those with personality disorders. This is also a problem for individuals, but small grants or tenure are less likely to cause it (though it will happen to the one doing the granting)

Comment by romeostevensit on Alpha · 2023-07-02T02:10:16.819Z · LW · GW

from an old post of mine:

One of the reasons highly useful projects don't get discovered quickly is that they are in under explored spaces. Certain areas are systematically under explored due to biases in peoples' search heuristics. Several examples of such biases are:

  1. Schlep blindness: named by Paul Graham, posits that difficult projects are under explored.

  2. Low-status blindness: projects which are not predicted to bring the project lead prestige are under explored.

  3. High-variance blindness: projects which are unlikely to succeed but that have a positive expected value anyway are under explored.

  4. Already invented blindness: projects that cover areas that have already been explored by others are assumed to have been competently explored.

  5. Not obviously scalable blindness: projects that don't have an obvious route to scaling are under explored.

  6. Over focus on the easy to measure: Inventing new ways of measuring things is often a source of multiple breakthroughs or whole new fields.

Comment by romeostevensit on My "2.9 trauma limit" · 2023-07-02T01:58:54.664Z · LW · GW

Traditional yoga again has arguing takes about this, with some schools claiming that it should work for everyone if you just 'do it right' or 'just punch harder' etc, and other schools claiming that such practices are basically...not useless per se, but unlikely to do much dramatic for people who haven't had certain prerequisite experiences (and for some people this seems to be never).

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-07-02T01:52:13.521Z · LW · GW

I use weighted knee raises, and bodysaws, which have the most hilariously disproportionate ratio of actual effort:perceived external effort of any exercise I've tried.

Comment by romeostevensit on My "2.9 trauma limit" · 2023-07-02T01:48:16.434Z · LW · GW

Also, my take on ACT therapy is that a significant part of the functional juice there is around untangling skills in general (shame at not having them/gained them at the 'correct' developmental age and context, paralysis at certain situations, etc.) after which you have a meta-tool for everything else. I think this is super relevant b/c I claim public school is giving most people some skill acquisition related trauma.

On the topic of meta tangles more generally, I think one of the reasons these sorts of things are so perennially difficult is that on the margin noticing certain things serve as an infohazard for your current way of life (imagine yourself in the same situation of needing months to years but having children and a strained marriage). The system, on some level, notices this and shuts things down because they are too mission critical to have a code refactoring done on them in production.

Comment by romeostevensit on My "2.9 trauma limit" · 2023-07-02T01:44:59.159Z · LW · GW

I really appreciated how this balanced your personal experience with the model building. I like the model a lot more than a model that arrives seemingly ex nihilo. (On no, this is why self help books are written this way isn't it? I'm also just now realizing that the biggest thing I dislike about most self help books is that the author does this pattern but usually exclusively with other people's problems and not their own).

Samskara theory from classical yoga traditions is (partially) the idea that by default people spend a lot of extra effort reacting to a mashup of the present and the salient bits of the past that are trying to do transfer learning but in practice winds up with a traffic jam of competing constraints. One of the big ideas is that digesting experiences fully is a skill that can be trained like any other and that with such training you eventually hit an inflection point where you process things faster than they come in and will eventually hit what's being referred to here as emotional inbox zero. The constraints idea is also why you wind up with this limit where tangles get exponentially worse when added together. The wicked tangles paralyze you along exactly the degrees of freedom you need for processing.

Also from Yoga we have the idea that a lot of this processing can be done purely physically/somatically, which can be dramatically less tangled than engaging with all the mental contents. I've taken to calling the endless therapy loop as the Integration Trap, and liken it to whack a mole. If you aren't improving your digestion skill then you are constantly firefighting rather than actually decreasing the rate of new moles popping up.

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-06-29T08:00:10.850Z · LW · GW

Hold fifty pounds in each hand and add up how much you are loading a single leg. In my case it's 260lbs.

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-06-29T01:23:50.381Z · LW · GW

1/2-1/3 the spine loading for the same stress on the legs

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-06-29T00:24:04.524Z · LW · GW

I don't understand, a quad focused exercise is inherently involving the knee

Comment by romeostevensit on Updates and Reflections on Optimal Exercise after Nearly a Decade · 2023-06-26T23:31:33.737Z · LW · GW

I think poor form when running on flat ground is also a component. It is easy to magnify your impact by over striding, which happens less on ascent.