Posts

Some Things That Increase Blood Flow to the Brain 2024-03-27T21:48:46.244Z
Should rationalists be spiritual / Spirituality as overcoming delusion 2024-03-25T16:48:08.397Z
The Handbook of Rationality (2021, MIT press) is now open access 2023-10-10T00:30:05.589Z
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

Comments

Comment by romeostevensit on Two easy things that maybe Just Work to improve AI discourse · 2024-06-09T20:44:58.404Z · LW · GW

Keep in mind that long (>280 character) replies don't notify the people in the thread, so you have to manually tag them if you leave a high quality reply.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-06-03T23:48:54.987Z · LW · GW

Update, I pinged him on Twitter and he said that people getting jhana on retreat and then thinking that the path is about getting 'back to that' is very common, instead of the person pursuing insight practices that lead to day to day changes Rather than peak experiences.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-06-03T23:47:32.848Z · LW · GW

I don't have theistic beliefs but have found prayer useful.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-06-01T20:58:46.883Z · LW · GW

This is oddly different from what he said in person. Also he wrote the first edition of mctb also about twenty years ago now, so I wouldn't be surprised if his opinion is different from his thirty year old self.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-06-01T20:57:06.620Z · LW · GW

I don't think you need to take any of the Buddhist claims seriously, just do your own investigation. I think it's much closer to something like 'people take instrumental goals as terminal, then twist themselves into knots over this error'.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-05-31T21:53:25.262Z · LW · GW

Ingram has actively hunted for any jhana hunters for twenty years and hasn't found any. The reason why becomes obvious once one gains a bit of insight into why/how jhana works. Though it's trickier to describe.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-05-31T21:51:46.071Z · LW · GW

I think letting go of desire is a terrible description of the insight. I still feel like a normal person, I just suffer a lot less. There's a tendency to overestimate the magnitude of changes in their close aftermath. It takes a few years before the mountains truly are mountains again.

Comment by romeostevensit on Awakening · 2024-05-31T21:48:57.616Z · LW · GW

More objective psychometrics like neuroticism and the reports of friends, family, partners.

Comment by romeostevensit on Value Claims (In Particular) Are Usually Bullshit · 2024-05-30T18:55:12.539Z · LW · GW

They're coextensive/parasitic on virtues, virtues being hard won compressions of lots of contextual information about how to prioritize and behave for min-maxing costs and benefits in a side-effect free way. Since virtues are illegible to younger people who haven't built up enough data yet, values are an easy attribute substitution.

Comment by romeostevensit on How to get nerds fascinated about mysterious chronic illness research? · 2024-05-29T03:43:32.310Z · LW · GW

Imaginal worlds, escapism. Video games, tabletop gaming, fantasy movies and books, comics and anime, collecting things, model building or mechanically intricate things.

Comment by romeostevensit on How to get nerds fascinated about mysterious chronic illness research? · 2024-05-29T00:57:26.728Z · LW · GW

Puzzle games and real math are pretty non central examples of nerdy interests in my ontology. I think of nerdy interests as fake compression, they provide a simpler world with a working memory number of variables to optimize instead of the mess of the real world. Results can be knowably optimal etc.

Comment by romeostevensit on When Are Circular Definitions A Problem? · 2024-05-28T22:16:57.312Z · LW · GW

In both examples: 2 degrees of freedom, two pieces of information. The information is sufficient to restrict one of the degrees of freedom (to within some bound in the second clustering example rather than precise).

Comment by romeostevensit on How to get nerds fascinated about mysterious chronic illness research? · 2024-05-28T03:24:40.857Z · LW · GW

Due to diagnostic ambiguity, a lot of the solutions don't generalize, which is anathema to the nerdy interest tick in my experience.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is CDT with precommitment enough? · 2024-05-25T22:18:47.530Z · LW · GW

More generally, dealing with the arrow-of-time loopiness problems by expanding the time window to contain the causal process in question. I would guess this epicycle introduces more complications than it solves sometimes though, requiring a block universe model in some circumstances (UDT related?).

Comment by romeostevensit on romeostevensit's Shortform · 2024-05-16T19:43:33.272Z · LW · GW

Several dozen people now presumably have Lumina in their mouths. Can we not simply crowdsource some assays of their saliva? I would chip money in to this. Key questions around ethanol levels, aldehyde levels, antibacterial levels, and whether the organism itself stays colonized at useful levels.

Comment by romeostevensit on [Linkpost] Please don't take Lumina's anticavity probiotic · 2024-05-15T19:20:09.357Z · LW · GW

I would appreciate a version of this post that evaluate dangers. This post uses a lot of fear mongering language that I don't feel helps me calibrate as someone considering the product.

Comment by romeostevensit on Questions are usually too cheap · 2024-05-12T05:15:22.447Z · LW · GW

Generally: in maneuver warfare you seek to make your opponent spend more energy per unit of reaction/movement than you do, wearing them down or putting them in a position of weakness.

Comment by romeostevensit on Dating Roundup #3: Third Time’s the Charm · 2024-05-10T17:09:59.970Z · LW · GW

People should focus way more on things that make them better partners because they make you a healthier more rounded person and way less on idiosyncratic dating market dynamics imo. When you climb the health hill you meet others also climbing the health hill. When you climb fake hills you meet others climbing fake hills.

Comment by romeostevensit on Dating Roundup #3: Third Time’s the Charm · 2024-05-09T00:13:26.654Z · LW · GW

Most of the useful ones are fairly symmetrical. Things like taking care of health and appearance for yourself but also more effort than you would otherwise on the margin because you care about your partner's experience. Taking note of things that seem specific to your partner/make them happy and noticing opportunities to do them. Noticing that the way your partner expresses care is probably the way they also wish they could receive it, and symmetrically noticing that the ways you keep expressing care for your partner are ways you secretly want care and doing the counterintuitively difficult emotional work of learning to ask for it instead of resenting their lack of mind-reading.

Creating space in which your partner can be vulnerable to expose their real preference (e.g. sexual preferences). Both men and women have a pretty hard time with this (especially any gender-narrative dystonic preferences) and often have had some pretty hurtful rejections in the past from other unthinking young people.

Then there are things that people present as if they are relationship obligations and try to avoid the emotional maturity of having them be explicitly discussed requests instead of tacitly held/resented demands. Such as coddling their coping mechanisms while not being allowed to acknowledge that you are paying costs to accommodate them (or you doing this to them).

Men often wind up in the valley of bad emotional sensitivity where they think that going into these sorts of things will make them unattractive/feminine (see: gender-narrative dystonic), mostly because they haven't had solid models of masculine emotional space-holding from their fathers and older male peers, modern age siloing isolates people from a lot of feedback from older people at every stage of life. They don't have a context in which to train the first awkward 100 hours of these skills. I think this is often why people report things like circling being very helpful.

Comment by romeostevensit on How would you navigate a severe financial emergency with no help or resources? · 2024-05-03T18:21:26.008Z · LW · GW

Oh yeah, food banks for sure!

Comment by romeostevensit on How would you navigate a severe financial emergency with no help or resources? · 2024-05-03T02:08:51.170Z · LW · GW

Finding a loan to move to somewhere with jobs is probably your best bet. This may devolve to begging amongst any social circles as well, which is a big pride hit. Many probably won't believe you will wind up with the means to pay it back. Minimizing the cost of the move by getting rid of non essential belongings. It is probably somewhat easier these days to line up a far away job via zoom interviewing. Quantity over quality.

One thing that I think is non-obvious: if you lay out the case for the loan in detail, that demonstrates intelligence and conscientiousness and will increase people's sense that you are doing something useful and thus willingness to lend. Basically, treat it as a business case, but the business happens to just be getting you and your partner employed. Show past cash flow, expected future cash flow given salaries of the sorts of places you are applying to, estimates of how many jobs you can reasonably apply to, how much of a monthly payment you could pay back, etc. Use chatgpt for help with outlining this.

Comment by romeostevensit on Which skincare products are evidence-based? · 2024-05-03T02:04:32.250Z · LW · GW

'Evidence based' in the skincare industry mostly means a company paid a consultancy to do 'scientific testing.' Very little shows any signs of actual large effect sizes other than blocking UV damage, afaik. Moisturizer does seem to help, especially in low humidity climes. Which moisturizer your skin responds best to seems to be trial and error, ie the detectable/subjective metrics are all we really have. Retinoids are one exception, but come with tradeoffs that I don't fully understand.

I settled on snail mucin as a more natural alternative, but a significant fraction of people have mild allergic reactions to it apparently.

Comment by romeostevensit on Losing Faith In Contrarianism · 2024-04-25T21:50:55.166Z · LW · GW

I think binary examples are deceptive in the reversed stupidity is not intelligence sense. Thinking through things from first principles is most important in areas that are new or rapidly changing where there are fewer references classes and experts to talk to. It's also helpful for areas where the consensus view is optimized for someone very unlike you.

Comment by romeostevensit on Thoughts on seed oil · 2024-04-25T06:13:45.157Z · LW · GW

If some some pre-modern hominids ate high animal diets, and some populations of humans did, and that continued through history, I wouldn't call that relatively recent. I'm not the same person making the claim that there is overwhelming evidence that saturated fats can't possibly be bad for you. I'm making a much more restricted claim.

Comment by romeostevensit on Is being a trans woman (or just low-T) +20 IQ? · 2024-04-24T21:26:16.770Z · LW · GW

I would have guessed high T is associated with lower neuroticism, but studies found weak or no effects afaict.

Comment by romeostevensit on Thoughts on seed oil · 2024-04-24T19:31:45.601Z · LW · GW

AFAIK, analysis of paleolithic diets is that there were a range of things depending on availability and some groups were indeed pretty high on animal protein. We don't have differential analysis of the resulting health, but I just wanted to point out that the trope of 'trad diets were low protein' is not super well supported. Trad diets were mostly lower fat does have some support, as raising very fatty, sedentary animals is more recent, and accelerated a bunch in the last hundred years. Although the connection between higher fat diets and negative health outcomes is then another inferential step that hasn't been strongly supported and is, AFAIK, somewhat genetically mediated (some people/groups do much better on high fat diets than others in terms of blood lipid profiles).

Comment by romeostevensit on Priors and Prejudice · 2024-04-23T21:49:37.668Z · LW · GW

These can often be operationalized 'How much of the variance in the output do you predict is controlled by your proposed input?'

Comment by romeostevensit on Priors and Prejudice · 2024-04-23T15:25:12.805Z · LW · GW

Our sensible Chesterton fences

His biased priors

Their inflexible ideological commitments

In addition to epistemic priors, there are also ontological priors and teleological priors to cross compare, each with their own problems. On top of which, people are even worse at comparing non epistemic priors than they are at comparing epistemic priors. As such, attempts to point out that these are an issue will be seen as a battle tactic: move the argument from a domain in which they have the upper hand (from their perspective) to unfamiliar territory in which you'll have an advantage, and resisted.

You may share the experience I've had that most attempts at discussion don't go anywhere. We mostly repeat our cached knowledge at each other. If two people who are earnestly trying to grok each other's positions drill down for long enough they'll get to a bit of ontology comparison, where it turns out they have different intuitions because they are using different conceptual metaphors for different moving parts of their model. But this takes so long that by the time it happens only a few bits of information get exchanged before one or both parties are too tired to continue. The workaround seems to be that if two people have a working relationship then, over time, they can accrue enough bits to get to real cruxes, and this can occasionally suggest novel research directions.

My main theory of change is therefore to find potentially productive pairings of people faster, and create the conditions under which they can speedrun getting to useful cruxes. Unfortunately, Eli Tyre tried this theory of change and reported that it mostly didn't work, after a bunch of good faith efforts from a bunch of people. I'm not sure what's next. I personally believe more progress could be made if people were trained in consciousness of abstraction (per Korzybski), but this is a sufficiently difficult ask as to fail people's priors on how much effort to spend on novel skills with unclear payoffs. And a theory of change that has a curiosity stopper that halts on "other people should do this thing that they clearly aren't going to do" is also not very useful.

Comment by romeostevensit on Thoughts on seed oil · 2024-04-22T20:01:12.116Z · LW · GW

Unclear. High fat and high carb diets have been directly compared and not found to be a smoking gun.

Comment by romeostevensit on Thoughts on seed oil · 2024-04-20T15:06:51.611Z · LW · GW

Correlation to increased consumption of hidden trans fats looks like a promising angle for figuring out some of the conflicting data.

I don't have a cite handy, but proportion of free acids was found to strongly increase with repeated heating of vegetable oils in cooking. There's a story here where pufa is more fragile, and incorporation of damaged fats into bodily tissue is not good. In particular, fat cells made up of damaged fats might mess with normal lipid balance processes. This is one possible story for why processed meats are so bad. We'd be doubling up on this process, feeding animals such that they have lots of damaged fats in their tissues (eg we feed pigs expired candy because it is cheap, and high BMI is desirable), killing and processing them such that it's even more damaged, and then eating it.

Overall, I'm bullish on the story that processing is bad, potentially through multiple mechanisms.

I'm bearish on pufa being bad in generality, if it were I don't think we'd see some of the strongest effects in nutrition science on reduced mortality from nuts and fish. I personally consume both raw on the processing is bad story.

Comment by romeostevensit on Raemon's Shortform · 2024-04-19T22:44:08.838Z · LW · GW

CRPGs with a lot of open world dynamics might work, where the goal is for the person to identify the most important experiments to run in a limited time window in order to manmax certain stats.

Comment by romeostevensit on Raemon's Shortform · 2024-04-19T05:07:15.319Z · LW · GW

Tracing out the chain of uncertainty. Lets say that I'm thinking about my business and come up with an idea. I'm uncertain how much to prioritize the idea vs the other swirling thoughts. If I thought it might cause my business to 2x revenue I'd obviously drop a lot and pursue it. Ok, how likely is that based on prior ideas? What reference class is the idea in? Under what world model is the business revenue particularly sensitive to the outputs of this idea? What's the most uncertain part of that model? How would I quickly test it? Who would already know the answer? etc.

Comment by romeostevensit on Raemon's Shortform · 2024-04-19T05:04:16.612Z · LW · GW

My shorthand has been 'decision leverage.' But that might not hit the center of what you're aiming at here.

Comment by romeostevensit on Cooperation is optimal, with weaker agents too  -  tldr · 2024-04-18T18:51:36.613Z · LW · GW

This is true, but we still wish to cooperate with the largest alliance that will have us/some subset of our values that are capable of attaining reflective equilibrium.

Comment by romeostevensit on Cooperation is optimal, with weaker agents too  -  tldr · 2024-04-18T18:50:01.185Z · LW · GW

If conflict exists, one thing it can be useful for agents to do is misrepresent themselves as being weaker or stronger than they are.

Comment by romeostevensit on Reconsider the anti-cavity bacteria if you are Asian · 2024-04-18T18:44:03.165Z · LW · GW

Some data: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/odi.12341

Comment by romeostevensit on Reconsider the anti-cavity bacteria if you are Asian · 2024-04-18T18:31:11.161Z · LW · GW

Firstly, S. mutans does not colonize the epithelium. It lives almost exclusively on enamel. The total surface area in the mouth that it could realistically inhabit is exceptionally small, unless Lumina can live in places that S. mutans generally does not.

Big crux! Thanks for the investigative effort. Sounds mostly resolvable via assay of existing Lumina customer saliva.

An interesting twist: drinking ethanol doesn't just cause acute exposure but "The concentration of ethanol in the oral cavity increases immediately after an alcoholic beverage is consumed and then decreases. It was reported after intake of an alcoholic beverage that the concentration of ethanol remaining in the oral cavity decreases gradually, as ethanol flows back into saliva from the blood for a few hours after it is taken into the body [25,26]. Most previous studies of acetaldehyde production by oral bacteria, including our study [24], used ethanol concentrations as low as 11–22 mM (approximately 0.05–0.1%), which corresponds to the ethanol concentrations seen in saliva a few hours after alcohol consumption [20,22,26,27]. " From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8204988/

Comment by romeostevensit on Reconsider the anti-cavity bacteria if you are Asian · 2024-04-18T18:27:57.715Z · LW · GW

The relevant SNP is rs671, though 23 and me will already have it in your dashboard.

Comment by romeostevensit on Reconsider the anti-cavity bacteria if you are Asian · 2024-04-16T05:56:28.029Z · LW · GW

Thanks! This is much closer to the amount of ethanol you'd get eating 50 bananas a day. That's at least one sanity check it fails then, even under these ideal conditions since, as you noted, there is probably a larger bacteria population than what was measured there.

Now I'm wondering about sanity checks in the other direction though. Is ~.5 ml per hour of ethanol actually a realistic production?

If it's really more like 10^6 and not 10^7 that's five bananas worth and not something I would worry about. Isn't this resolvable via saliva assay?

Comment by romeostevensit on Reconsider the anti-cavity bacteria if you are Asian · 2024-04-15T18:33:02.507Z · LW · GW

My understanding is that the amount of ethanol we're taking about here on a daily basis constitutes something like the amount you'd get eating an extra piece of fruit or so. Though I don't know where I originally saw the estimate or if it is good. Does anyone want to do some fermi estimates?

Comment by romeostevensit on Fabien's Shortform · 2024-04-14T16:22:30.970Z · LW · GW

Is there a short summary on the rejecting Knightian uncertainty bit?

Comment by romeostevensit on Medical Roundup #2 · 2024-04-11T15:58:31.032Z · LW · GW

Huge numbers of people are forced to resort to illegal methods of suicide creating legal, emotional, financial, and logistics problems for their loved ones, on top of the additional grief to the suicidee personally.

Comment by romeostevensit on Medical Roundup #2 · 2024-04-10T23:32:27.421Z · LW · GW

I agree my gloss on it is not a substantive engagement, but rather a reminder of what I consider a crucial consideration. Policies that elide horrific suffering are the norm. Part of the point is that suffering, being not available to external quantification, must be left up to the individual whenever possible. Many objections to utilitarianism involve its frequent attempts to obviate subjective effects when this isn't appropriate.

Comment by romeostevensit on romeostevensit's Shortform · 2024-04-09T21:53:48.070Z · LW · GW

Not a new point but perennially worth noting: subcultures persist via failure. That is to say that subcultures that succeed obviate themselves. This is concretely noticeable in ways that, coming in as an outsider, a subculture about X will have a bunch of mysterious self sabotage behavior that actually keeps ¬X persistent.

Comment by romeostevensit on Medical Roundup #2 · 2024-04-09T14:41:18.964Z · LW · GW

I am ready to go ahead and say that, if we have to choose one extreme or the other, I choose ‘this is not allowed.’

Advocating for people to be tortured is bad. We should be willing to accept quite a lot of collateral damage to avoid torturing people.

Comment by romeostevensit on Toni Kurz and the Insanity of Climbing Mountains · 2024-04-02T05:41:45.570Z · LW · GW

didn't know that, I heard it via Bostrom. Thanks.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Things That Increase Blood Flow to the Brain · 2024-03-30T00:48:49.513Z · LW · GW

Hmm, good point this should probably have an epistemic status.

Comment by romeostevensit on Disincentives for participating on LW/AF · 2024-03-29T20:24:07.435Z · LW · GW

Thanks, this actually highlighted for me another aspect of it. Namely, if someone objects to a claim I did not make, if I respond it feels as though people might go with 'he was actually tacitly making that claim.' Calling out that I'm not making that claim explicitly should help here.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Things That Increase Blood Flow to the Brain · 2024-03-28T21:25:27.059Z · LW · GW

Sources are a shallow dive of google and reading a few abstracts, this is intended as trailheads for people, not firm recommendations. If I wanted them to be reccs I would want to estimate effect sizes and estimates of the quality of the related research.

Comment by romeostevensit on Some Things That Increase Blood Flow to the Brain · 2024-03-28T01:09:01.795Z · LW · GW

Insulin insensitivity and weight gain Poor sleep Hypertension High cholesterol