Posts

Let's Design A School, Part 3.1: Bringing it all together with the Sieve Model 2024-06-11T17:03:12.999Z
Why don't we just get rid of all the bioethicists? 2024-06-08T03:48:47.760Z
Let's Design A School, Part 2.4 School as Education - The Curriculum (Phase 3, Specific) 2024-06-05T21:40:49.002Z
Let's Design A School, Part 2.3 School as Education - The Curriculum (Phase 2, Specific) 2024-05-15T20:58:50.981Z
Let's Design A School, Part 2.2 School as Education - The Curriculum (General) 2024-05-07T19:22:21.730Z
Let's Design A School, Part 2.1 School as Education - Structure 2024-05-02T22:04:30.435Z
Let's Design A School, Part 1 2024-04-23T21:50:20.937Z
Anxiety vs. Depression 2024-03-17T00:15:08.255Z
Commensal Institutions 2023-11-01T16:01:57.703Z
Anyone Else Using Brilliant? 2023-10-24T12:12:27.540Z
How To Socialize With Psycho(logist)s 2023-10-20T11:33:46.066Z
Meta-Regulations 2023-10-13T21:23:42.919Z
Autonomic Sanity 2023-09-25T22:37:07.262Z
What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? 2023-08-01T09:51:24.537Z
The Weight of the Future (Why The Apocalypse Can Be A Relief) 2023-06-27T17:18:30.944Z
Arguments Against Fossil Future? 2023-05-31T13:41:03.860Z
Accidental Terraforming 2023-04-26T06:49:04.392Z
Feeling Progress as Motivation 2023-03-28T09:11:48.458Z
What If: An Earthquake in Taiwan? 2023-03-27T07:31:34.545Z
Why Creating Value is Positive-Sum, and Extracting it is Zero or Negative-Sum 2023-02-15T07:14:57.826Z
Investment, Work, and Vision: Who is responsible for creating value? 2023-01-16T01:57:01.803Z
Value Created vs. Value Extracted 2022-11-18T21:34:46.629Z
Word-Distance vs Idea-Distance: The Case for Lanoitaring 2022-11-06T05:25:46.950Z
Wisdom Cannot Be Unzipped 2022-10-22T00:28:25.476Z
AI Hiroshima (Does A Vivid Example Of Destruction Forestall Apocalypse?) 2022-07-18T12:06:31.955Z
Frankenstein: A Modern AGI 2022-05-05T16:16:48.430Z
The One Who Says, "Enough" 2022-03-17T06:17:37.161Z
Sable's Shortform 2022-03-06T17:16:34.809Z
Summit-Seeking as Distinct From Mountaineering 2022-03-02T10:40:57.446Z
An Exercise in Applied Rationality: A New Apartment 2018-07-08T21:18:04.518Z
Becoming a Better Community 2017-06-06T07:11:42.367Z
What do you actually do to replenish your willpower? 2016-11-06T00:05:35.048Z
General-Purpose Questions Thread 2016-06-19T07:29:18.949Z
Iterated Gambles and Expected Utility Theory 2016-05-25T21:29:27.645Z
Cross-Cultural maps and Asch's Conformity Experiment 2016-03-09T00:40:58.150Z
Recommended Reading for Evolution? 2015-07-15T18:04:11.852Z
A Challenge: Maps We Take For Granted 2015-05-29T03:50:18.655Z
What Would You Do If You Only Had Six Months To Live? 2015-05-20T00:52:05.706Z
Guidelines for Upvoting and Downvoting? 2015-05-06T11:51:29.837Z

Comments

Comment by Sable on Let's Design A School, Part 3.1: Bringing it all together with the Sieve Model · 2024-06-13T03:24:01.284Z · LW · GW

I completely agree.

I have these moments every so often when I think to myself, "The entire MIT undergraduate curriculum is available for free online. ...why do we need college, exactly?"

And so on.

I have another post on my substack (I'll get around to posting it here at some point) about the kind of gains we should be making in educational technology, but haven't been.

Comment by Sable on Let's Design A School, Part 2.4 School as Education - The Curriculum (Phase 3, Specific) · 2024-06-08T01:48:34.370Z · LW · GW

Thanks! I don't know if I'm the person to write that book, but I do agree it'd be a good idea.

Comment by Sable on Let's Design A School, Part 1 · 2024-05-15T20:48:18.190Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the response!

I agree that the social services model is simultaneously good and bad. The issue stems from schools having to contend with two very different problems:

  1. How do they deal with children from poor backgrounds who don't want to learn? How do they deal with idiots, special needs students, assholes, troublemakers, etc.?
  2. How do schools deal with gifted children? How do they deal with students who are smarter or learn faster than their peers?

These kinds of students need very different kinds of environments to thrive.

Paul Graham is representative of 2., and so the social services model is pretty useless to him. But there are plenty of children who can benefit enormously from it.

Future posts go into the school-as-education model, which is more suited for students from group 2.

As for designing from the outside in, it's a cool idea, and I'd love to read someone's attempt. I decided to try it from the inside out because I'd never seen it done before in the modern age.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-05-10T20:29:16.497Z · LW · GW

I switched up my medications and I'm feeling a lot better now, although it being summer really helps. Everything is better when the world outside is warm and sunny!

I've been looking into trying Spravato (Ketamine) as well, although the bureaucracy to actually get to trying it is no joke.

Thanks for asking!

Comment by Sable on Observations on Teaching for Four Weeks · 2024-05-10T20:27:46.526Z · LW · GW

Thanks, it's my first time linking to my own sequence. I fixed the link to the first post in it.

Comment by Sable on Let's Design A School, Part 2.2 School as Education - The Curriculum (General) · 2024-05-10T20:25:18.519Z · LW · GW

I like your approach! The only caveat I have is that the students taking these requirements could be anywhere from 9-17ish, so they won't necessarily be able to investigate the tools and concepts in depth the way they might in a college course.

Comment by Sable on Observations on Teaching for Four Weeks · 2024-05-08T15:06:02.576Z · LW · GW

Curious to hear your thoughts on my sequence

I'm going through a theoretical redesign of American public education, and I'd appreciate the feedback from a teacher's perspective.

Comment by Sable on Let's Design A School, Part 2.1 School as Education - Structure · 2024-05-07T19:13:24.960Z · LW · GW

I completely agree - often the hardest part of designing a system is what to do about willful defectors.

Hopefully some of this will become more clear as I keep posting, but the basic gist is that students have to be allowed to fail. We should make every effort to accommodate those who need help and rehabilitate those we can, but in the end if a student is determined to not learn/disrupt other students, they get failed and kicked out.

Comment by Sable on Let's Design A School, Part 1 · 2024-05-02T22:00:14.416Z · LW · GW

If there are actual crimes going on, I'd imagine the police should be called.

If a student is genuinely acting in bad faith - attending a class and ruining it for their peers - then they should be removed from the class and sent to a counselor/social worker.

Otherwise, "disruptive" is a difficult thing to pin down when there's no actual instruction to be interrupting.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T01:02:43.609Z · LW · GW

They both tend to limit my (already limited) tolerance for it and make it much harder, although the depression makes it harder in general while the anxiety only makes it harder in higher-stakes situations, such as at work with a boss.

Your post is another interesting perspective I haven't delved into as much as I'd like. It reminds me of the parts work some of my friends are fond of - taking something negative in one's brain and asking, "but how is this useful? What is it doing for me? What is this piece of me trying to protect me from?" and then running with the result.

I'll have to give it more thought.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:57:12.921Z · LW · GW

Fixed, thanks.

There's a joke in here about getting negatives wrong when depressed...

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:55:55.463Z · LW · GW

You're welcome! I'm glad it was helpful.

I also just looked up monotropism - I haven't run across the term before - and was like, yeah, that seems about right for me.

Interesting.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:53:47.641Z · LW · GW

You're welcome!

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:53:29.137Z · LW · GW

Call it...unintentionally intentional? It makes sense to me that the mechanisms between them are related in some sort of Unified Field Theorem of the Mind sort of way.

I also have mental metaphors involving thermal mass and emotions...

Huh.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:52:07.112Z · LW · GW

As a fellow procrastinator, I'm right there with you. I've found, for instance, that downers (alcohol, barbiturates, etc.) can allow me to be productive if anxiety is the cause of the procrastination, but if it's depression than the downers don't help at all.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:50:08.844Z · LW · GW

Sure - I'm always interested in hearing other perspectives.

What's your secret?

Is it yoga?

(I bet it's yoga.)

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:49:28.120Z · LW · GW

Not being very sad all the time is good for you, 10/10 recommend. 

Words to live by, right there.

I think everyone has some experience with anxiety and depression; the alternative is literally ataraxia. The distinctions come with things like, "is it transitory or chronic?" and "is it ruining your life?" I'm glad you're not in that state anymore, though.

With regards to anxiety, I've had thoughts recently along the same track; maybe I'll write them up at some point. It's almost a case of "the dose makes the poison" - some amount of anxiety is natural and can motivate you, but too much and it prevents you from doing anything.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:44:38.117Z · LW · GW

That's a fascinating description of your own state, and I hope you're working through it with your own resources.

For the post I was focusing more on a behaviorist approach to depression and anxiety, explaining what the resulting state/actions were by metaphor of how it felt internally, but I do also get the low mood and the feeling that everything is terrible.

I think I also get the 'lose the ability to perceive gradations of color' thing, which I think Scott's talked about before.

(I also had a nihilistic phase I grew out of. There's only so much 'depressed French people complaining' I can take!)

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:41:09.304Z · LW · GW

Thanks for sharing! I definitely like Scott's take on depression being a trapped prior.

When I'm depressed, sometimes a friend will make me go do stuff anyway and it usually makes me feel better, although I never expect it to make me feel better. Even when I know that it will.

Brains are weird.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:38:43.141Z · LW · GW

Thanks Anders! That means a lot, I really appreciate it. 

Thankfully I've seen my psychiatrist and I've switched to the next medication, which is doing a better job. I'm also looking into getting Ketamine treatment; I'll probably make a post about how that goes.

Comment by Sable on Anxiety vs. Depression · 2024-03-21T00:37:14.886Z · LW · GW

You may!

Zoloft managed the depression but not the anxiety, and Lexapro the anxiety but not the depression.

For what it's worth, I have zero expectation that anyone else would share my exact response to the medications; both have helped plenty of people in the past.

Comment by Sable on Wisdom Cannot Be Unzipped · 2023-12-29T10:45:20.807Z · LW · GW

I think this post highlights some of the difficulties in transmitting information between people - particularly the case of trying to transmit complex thoughts via short aphorisms.

I think the comments provided a wealth of feedback as to the various edge cases that can occur in such a transmission, but the broad strokes of the post remain accurate: understanding compressed wisdom can't really be done without the life experience that the wisdom tried to compress to begin with.

If I was to rewrite the post, I'l likely emphasize the takeaway that, when giving advice or attempting to transmit such wisdom, the point is that you have to take the time to convey the entirety of the context of what you're saying, unless you're just reminding someone of something they already know. "Don't zip your wisdom, just transfer the whole thing" might be a better title than "wisdom cannot be unzipped", for the practical application of the lesson.

I do like - and intend to continue - inserting pieces of related knowledge into posts, in the way that this post teaches a little about what compression is in the course of conveying its message. I think that benefits the discourse, and by assuming a low level of shared knowledge, makes the post friendlier to newcomers and beginners.

Comment by Sable on Commensal Institutions · 2023-11-16T18:01:47.302Z · LW · GW

I don't see this as a conscious choice people make to not solve the problems the institution they're a part of is supposed to address. I agree that many of the individuals within the institution are working in good faith and genuinely care.

The issue is that the incentives of the people are not the same as the incentives of the institution itself, which are to grow and attract more status and money, which happens when the problem is seen as harder and more important.

Yes, Climate Change is obviously not solvable by a few activists, but there's a finite amount of time/energy/money in the world, and it's not clear to me at all that it's optimally distributed between cause areas. More time/energy/money going into solving climate change means less going elsewhere.

Comment by Sable on Commensal Institutions · 2023-11-16T17:50:38.673Z · LW · GW

I use homelessness as an example, but I believe the logic generalizes. You're right that in many cases, the incentives facing an institution aren't powerful enough to matter, or the people involved could/would just go do other things.

But there are also a lot of cases (see: almost all nonprofits) where people's jobs depend on the existence and salience of the problem, in which case I think the incentives do start to matter.

Comment by Sable on Commensal Institutions · 2023-11-16T17:47:58.796Z · LW · GW

While I haven't looked at the data lately, there are a lot of institutions in the US, as I use the term. Surely of the many social ills they address there are some that solvable/solved?

While I used ending homelessness as an example, the salience of an issue matters too. Climate change organizations receive lots of funding because their cause is seen as an important priority. If that changes, their funding dries up. So they have an incentive on the margin to overemphasize the importance of their associated problem - they benefit from the problem, while generally not solving it. Hence, commensalism.

Comment by Sable on Commensal Institutions · 2023-11-16T17:43:28.640Z · LW · GW

Thanks! I've been pointed to them by others as well; it's a good example of an institution surviving the death of their problem.

I do think that the case underlines how important problems are for institutions, in a sort-of "exception that proves the rule" kind of way.

Comment by Sable on Commensal Institutions · 2023-11-14T11:25:46.271Z · LW · GW

They would need another problem to pivot to.

Also, I suspect that such a pivot on an institutional scale is difficult to pull off. People often prioritize altruistic work because they're passionate about a specific cause - maybe they were homeless in the past, or they were a cancer survivor, etc. That wouldn't necessarily translate.

Comment by Sable on Commensal Institutions · 2023-11-03T20:23:47.981Z · LW · GW

This was well thought-out, thank you.

You're right about redefining the word/problem. I've been referring to this as "The Pivot" in my head.

It would still be better if we found a way to form institutions such that, once they had solved a problem, their resources were efficiently allocated to the solution of the next-most-pressing problem.

Comment by Sable on Some rules for life (v.0,0) · 2023-10-31T13:26:59.712Z · LW · GW

Wait until you discover the world of Worm fanfiction (*cue evil laughter*).

Comment by Sable on How To Socialize With Psycho(logist)s · 2023-10-23T05:02:30.761Z · LW · GW

Very possible.

I do suspect, though, that your friends at least have an internal process of analysis going even if they're not working. (I could of course be wrong.)

Comment by Sable on How To Socialize With Psycho(logist)s · 2023-10-23T05:00:55.683Z · LW · GW

Well said.

Comment by Sable on How To Socialize With Psycho(logist)s · 2023-10-23T05:00:15.570Z · LW · GW

Quite true, and I considered being more specific about the kinds of relationships I was talking about.

For the sake of brevity I omitted such relationships.

What I did try to emphasize was that a relationship doesn't have to be equal to be reciprocal. So long as each party is getting what they need out of it, it usually counts. In a parent/child relationship, for instance, the parent is/should be getting something valuable out of the relationship, even though that something isn't reciprocity or emotional support.

As you say, the reward might be seeing your junior/student/child grow up and succeed.

Comment by Sable on Meta-Regulations · 2023-10-16T08:25:26.037Z · LW · GW

I understand what you're saying. I wasn't familiar with the exact definitions of the political theory you cite.

I do think that it's reasonable to be bound by laws made before one was born, but only to a certain extent. Society changes over time, and over a long enough period of time I would argue - philosophically - that the society that passed the law is no longer the society I was born into. (And yet the law is still binding, because the law doesn't have an expiration date.)

That being said, thanks for the reply, and I appreciate the feedback!

Comment by Sable on Autonomic Sanity · 2023-09-29T13:19:11.565Z · LW · GW

Fair, and I forgot about the term stuck prior (I think I've heard "trapped prior" before). Thanks!

Comment by Sable on Autonomic Sanity · 2023-09-27T08:16:51.704Z · LW · GW

Great question.

You've got the basics - eat right, workout, sleep, etc., but just saying that isn't much help.

I've gotten a great deal out of habit chaining/trigger-action planning when used consistently; basically you create chains of actions that feed into one another so once you've started the chain, it takes no extra willpower to just keep following it to its conclusion.

For instance:

Wake up -> make breakfast -> get pills -> turn on sunlamp -> eat

is one, that makes sure I take my medication, eat breakfast, and get some light everyday (the latter is especially important in the winter).

Another is:

Meditate -> Workout -> Shower

which, while I mix up both the kinds of meditation and the kinds of workout, ensures all three get done, roughly every other day.

Do it consistently, and eventually you can just do them on autopilot. You don't really forget anything and somehow, not doing them becomes the unnatural state.

Hope that helps!

Comment by Sable on Autonomic Sanity · 2023-09-27T08:09:23.916Z · LW · GW

A good point, and I agree. Part of my thinking on this topic, and the desire to write on it, was sparked by Scott and others' debate on what mental illness and sanity really are (how much of it is social, how much biological, etc.).

Comment by Sable on Autonomic Sanity · 2023-09-27T08:07:46.961Z · LW · GW

Is there a term for a non-updateable belief? 

I like the concept, although I wonder if you run into some kind of contradiction if you follow it all the way to the extremes. Is the belief that "all beliefs should be updateable" itself updateable?

Comment by Sable on How are rationalists or orgs blocked, that you can see? · 2023-09-21T12:22:15.856Z · LW · GW

I would 100% bring in European or otherwise non-English speaking transit experts to completely overhaul US public transportation. The US is particularly bad at this, and the expertise does exist in other places.

Comment by Sable on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-22T10:52:10.206Z · LW · GW

Agreed - measuring the magnitude of ongoing effects in property damage is very vulnerable to the rising amount and value of property.

Comment by Sable on Some rules for life (v.0,0) · 2023-08-22T10:48:21.197Z · LW · GW

And you have kabbalistically reminded me to start reading Worm

My master plan has suceeded!

Comment by Sable on Who regulates the regulators? We need to go beyond the review-and-approval paradigm · 2023-08-17T15:28:02.735Z · LW · GW

I've thought about an approach to this I call meta-regulation: regulations on what kind of regulations can be passed.

One of my favorite ideas is to limit the number of total regulations a given agency can set (or perhaps the total wordcount of its regulations, just to punish any gaming of this meta-regulation) to half of whatever it currently is. That way, once regulations are reduced to their newly declared peak, whenever regulators want to add a new regulation, they are forced to get rid of an existing one.

Hence they will be forced to do some form of cost-benefit analysis on the regulations they keep.

Comment by Sable on Some rules for life (v.0,0) · 2023-08-17T12:29:26.660Z · LW · GW

I've personally gotten a lot out of viewing myself as a 4D worm (a 3-Dimensional being stretched out across the fourth dimension of Time can be thought of as a sort of 4D worm), when I remember to do so.

A concrete benefit is that it renders procrastination moot - the task, if completed at all, is in the worm somewhere, so the specific location in time it finds itself is not particularly important. Which means it might as well be now.

There's also an emotional component - if I think of myself as some kind of weighted average of myself in the moment, I can be destabilized by emotion or trauma or just life throwing crap at me. If I think of myself as the average of the entire 4D worm, on the other hand, that's far harder to destabilize.

Your conception of every day being a microcosm of one's life is another way of looking at the same concept, where individual slices of the worm can be thought of as basically an MRI image of the life in question. Brushing one's teeth in each slice equates to healthy teeth for the entirety of the worm, and so on. Since we live in the individual slices, this is useful to think about, as we're really trying to shape the entire worm.

Comment by Sable on Some rules for life (v.0,0) · 2023-08-17T11:02:33.102Z · LW · GW

Of all of these, I found 8 most useful.

Comment by Sable on What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? · 2023-08-17T09:37:37.859Z · LW · GW

I quite like this.

Comment by Sable on What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? · 2023-08-03T11:15:53.925Z · LW · GW

Perhaps a better way to express my thoughts would have been "What goal do the structures of society create optimization pressure for, when it comes to childhood?" I believe that different societal structures create optimization pressures for different visions of what childhood is like, and this can confuse conversations about those structures.

Comment by Sable on What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? · 2023-08-03T11:13:06.089Z · LW · GW

This was very well said, and I'd be interested in reading a post fleshing more of it out.

Comment by Sable on What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? · 2023-08-01T14:43:44.614Z · LW · GW

I agree to some extent with what you're saying - but in today's society, (at least in the U.S. and, to my understanding, many parts of East Asia) children are subjected to optimization pressures from colleges and other selective institutions. I think there's a lack in clarity of thought in society at large about the effect this has on children, and more importantly, what childhood ought to be.

To your point, less optimization pressure on children does not seem to result in less achievement in adulthood - so perhaps that's the direction we ought to be aiming for?

Comment by Sable on What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? · 2023-08-01T12:25:18.070Z · LW · GW

Nostalgia can be a funny thing. I've been nostalgic for experiences that I would in no way want to repeat. Sometimes things are better as memories than they are to live through.

Comment by Sable on What Is Childhood Supposed To Be? · 2023-08-01T12:23:45.259Z · LW · GW

Thank you, this was very kind.

Comment by Sable on Apollo Neuro Results · 2023-07-31T10:37:09.106Z · LW · GW

I think it's great that you did this and posted your results. I'd be super interested in learning more about what effect the Neuro is actually having, and why different people have such different experiences.