Comment by scotherns on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-28T15:18:53.032Z · LW · GW

Survey done!

Comment by scotherns on MIRI's Winter 2013 Matching Challenge · 2013-12-24T12:41:02.558Z · LW · GW

Donated $50. Happy Saturnalia!

Comment by scotherns on Rationality, competitiveness and akrasia · 2013-10-04T13:35:19.607Z · LW · GW

Chore Wars?

Worked for a while in my family - the kids were arguing over who got to clean the toilet for the XP bonus :-)

Comment by scotherns on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-09-03T11:56:58.986Z · LW · GW

For YouTube, try right clicking, choose 'Settings...' and uncheck 'Enable hardware acceleration'. Any change?

Comment by scotherns on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-08-30T07:44:35.027Z · LW · GW

Does it do this regardless of the software playing the video e.g. YouTube and VLC or WMP or XMBC or whatever you use to play your videos?

Comment by scotherns on Yet more "stupid" questions · 2013-08-29T13:34:13.162Z · LW · GW

Advice for a similar problem is here

Comment by scotherns on Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 · 2013-08-27T09:27:54.799Z · LW · GW

Have they checked for rheumatoid arthritis (and not just with a blood test, it doesn't always show)? It took many doctors vists for them to get the correct diagnosis for my wife (despite a history of it in her family).

Comment by scotherns on MIRI's 2013 Summer Matching Challenge · 2013-07-23T11:17:19.685Z · LW · GW

Donated $50 (on top of my automated monthly donation).

Comment by scotherns on Boring Advice Repository · 2013-03-11T12:21:47.041Z · LW · GW

It is the sterotypical thing to talk about, but the point is not the actual weather. It is signal that they would rather be talking to you than be silent. It's an invitation to start a conversation, since people don't routinely come up to you and say 'I would like to being a conversation with you - please suggest a topic'. They say 'Raining again!' instead.

Comment by scotherns on On "Friendly" Immortality · 2011-12-06T11:22:38.130Z · LW · GW

Please don't destroy the world. I'm still using it.

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2011-07-19T11:14:30.000Z · LW · GW

Fair enough. I have updated my estimate of the size of the d) population.

Comment by scotherns on Being a teacher · 2011-03-22T09:09:26.824Z · LW · GW

My eldest daughter is eight, and I haven't taught her to code yet. I'm such a bad parent :-)

We'll do "Hello World!" tonight after school!

Comment by scotherns on Memetic Hazards in Videogames · 2010-09-16T12:05:39.047Z · LW · GW

Freecycle exists specifically to assist in giving things away.

Comment by scotherns on Memetic Hazards in Videogames · 2010-09-16T11:24:29.644Z · LW · GW

'Chore Wars' ( is designed to motivate you do get chores done by providing XP / Gold / Treasure for completing chores, and tracking it to induce competition amongst your housemates.

It works for me as a more interesting to-do list, and has caused my kids to argue about who gets to clean the toilet and level up.

Comment by scotherns on Rationality quotes: August 2010 · 2010-08-16T10:36:09.662Z · LW · GW

Is Rain's quote the most upvoted entry of all time? Its currently at +62.

Comment by scotherns on Rationality Quotes: July 2010 · 2010-07-07T08:48:26.327Z · LW · GW

Excellent! My kids get this version:

Twinkle Twinkle little star,
We all know just what you are,
You're a sun that's far away,
Far too faint to see by day

Twinkle Twinkle little star,
We all know just what you are

Comment by scotherns on A Challenge for LessWrong · 2010-07-06T13:55:16.426Z · LW · GW

There are people who try to raise their kids to be advertising-proof, but I haven't heard anything about the long term effects.

I make an effort to do this with my kids. It will be interesting to see how it effects things as they get older.

Comment by scotherns on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2010-05-18T14:01:14.266Z · LW · GW

I scored 36 on the test, which was way higher than I was expecting. I think I can do a pretty decent impression of a normally social person. Perhaps my responses are skewed by my having programmed for the last 7 hours. Maybe I should take the test again after spending a couple of hours interacting with my wife and kids.

Comment by scotherns on Open Thread: April 2010 · 2010-04-14T10:21:36.367Z · LW · GW

I've been trying to do this since November for a close family member. So far the reaction has been fairly positive, but she has still not decided to go for it.

Comment by scotherns on "Life Experience" as a Conversation-Halter · 2010-03-19T10:38:07.086Z · LW · GW

I have a recent example - discussing cryonics with my father-in-law. He supported my choice to do it, but is convinced that when I reach his age I will feel differently about it.

Personally, I would have thought that adding on another 25 years of precious experience and accumulated physical damage would make me more likely to want to preserve/fix myself.

Comment by scotherns on The Last Days of the Singularity Challenge · 2010-03-01T10:14:05.756Z · LW · GW

I donated $50 this time.

Comment by scotherns on Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych · 2010-02-26T08:34:04.976Z · LW · GW


Comment by scotherns on "Put It To The Test" · 2010-02-04T09:04:57.558Z · LW · GW

But it is a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is built into helium.

Comment by scotherns on Lesswrong UK planning thread · 2010-01-25T14:20:11.222Z · LW · GW

Yes, but you are one of the LW people.

Comment by scotherns on Costs to (potentially) eternal life · 2010-01-25T11:03:14.063Z · LW · GW

I'm kind of the opposite. My 'gut' feelings tend to rate most things as being dangerous, and I rely on my awareness of actual risk to be able to do pretty much anything.

I don't think I obsess over risk either - but that's maybe because I have been doing this all my life :-). I also don't think my life has not been worth worth living - quite the opposite, or I wouldn't have signed up for Cryonics!

Comment by scotherns on Costs to (potentially) eternal life · 2010-01-22T15:11:51.006Z · LW · GW

Surely you already take into account how dangerous various activities are before deciding to do them?

Everyone has different thresholds for how much risk they are willing to take. Anyone that does not take risk into account at all will die very rapidly.

Comment by scotherns on Costs to (potentially) eternal life · 2010-01-22T15:01:45.871Z · LW · GW

I haven't significantly changed my willingness to take risks, but then again I have always been very risk averse.

I would never ride a motorbike or go mountaineering etc. I eat well, don't smoke, try to avoid stress and exercise regularly.

I did all these things even before I took cryonics seriously . This is because it was obvious that being alive is better than being dead, and these things seemed like obvious ways in which to preserve my life as long as possible.

If I found out tomorrow that cryonics was proven to NOT work, I'd still continue crossing the road very carefully.

Comment by scotherns on That Magical Click · 2010-01-22T12:51:10.793Z · LW · GW

If you were hit by a car tomorrow, would you be lying there thinking, 'well, I've had a good life, and being dead's not so bad, so I'll call the funeral service' or would you be calling an ambulance?

Ambulances are expensive, and doctors are not guaranteed to be able to fix you, and there is chance you might be in for some suffering, and you may be out of society for a while until you recover - but you call them anyway. You do this because you know that being alive is better than being dead.

Cryonics is just taking this one step further., and booking your ambulance ahead of time.

Comment by scotherns on Normal Cryonics · 2010-01-22T08:27:36.240Z · LW · GW

PM sent with details.

Comment by scotherns on Normal Cryonics · 2010-01-21T14:42:19.222Z · LW · GW

As a parent you make a great many decisions for your children that effect their lives in ways great and small. This is not simply your right, but your duty. Cryonics is just one of the many choices you will have to make.

Not pushing your parents towards it is another issue, but have you even discussed the possibility of it with them? My parents were surprisingly positive of the idea when I discussed it with them, and are now actively researching it. Previously, they were not aware that it was even a serious option.

Comment by scotherns on Normal Cryonics · 2010-01-21T13:47:13.249Z · LW · GW

I find it rather odd that no one has answered the original question.

I'm signed up, and I'll be your friend.

Comment by scotherns on Case study: Melatonin · 2010-01-12T08:46:04.410Z · LW · GW

I have two kids. If left to their own devices, they would eat the tastiest things on their plate, then stop (then complain about being hungry an hour later). They would never eat anything remotely healthy, and subsist entirely on chocolate if given the choice.

Since we have evolved to value fat and sugar as being the tastiest substances, children do have to be taught/persuaded to eat healthy food.

They also do need to be told when to go to bed. The times at which we have tried to let them set their own bed times have resulted in them trying to stay awake as long as they possibly can, until they fall asleep in the middle of whatever they were doing. They almost never voluntarily go to bed, no matter how obviously tired they are.

Comment by scotherns on Open Thread: January 2010 · 2010-01-11T08:50:31.850Z · LW · GW

Well, the future will certainly be full of mostly strangers. If you can't convince any of your current friends/family to sign up, you might be better of making friends with those that have already signed up. There are bound to some you would get along with (I've read OOTS since it started :-) )

If I ever have any success in convincing anyone else to sign up for cryonics, I'll let you know how I did it (in the unlikely event that this will help!).

Comment by scotherns on Open Thread: January 2010 · 2010-01-08T08:38:34.490Z · LW · GW

Did you become vegetarian, despite the fact that you couldn't persuade anyone else? Did your decision at least make some people at least consider the option seriously?

Comment by scotherns on Open Thread: January 2010 · 2010-01-07T14:30:44.917Z · LW · GW

Do it anyway. Lead by example. Over time, you might find they become more used to the idea, particularly if they have someone who can help them with the paperwork and organisational side of things. If you can help them financially, so much the better.

If you are successfully revived, you will have plenty of time to make new friends, and start a new family. I'm not meaning to sound callous, but its not unheard of for people to lose their families and eventually recover. I'm doing everything I can to persuade my family to sign up, but its up to them to make the final decision.

I'd give my life to save my family, but I wouldn't kill myself if I found myself alone.

Comment by scotherns on Open Thread: January 2010 · 2010-01-07T09:28:43.857Z · LW · GW

I work out regularly, eat healthy, and I am signed up for Cryonics. One data point for you :-)

Comment by scotherns on Circular Altruism vs. Personal Preference · 2009-10-29T11:00:45.672Z · LW · GW

I don't take the test. There are likely to be a LOT of rare diseases with similar cost/benefits, possibly enough so that you could spend every waking moment being tested for something.

I don't consider this decision to be equivalent to my 'inflicting' death on those that happen to get the disease(s).

Comment by scotherns on The Featherless Biped · 2009-09-03T08:05:36.081Z · LW · GW

A bird is a warm-blooded organism with circulatory lungs." How close did I come?

So if I removed the lungs of chicken, you would no longer consider it a bird? Or if I surgically modified some other creature (e.g. a pig) to have circulatory lungs, you would consider this to be a bird?

This kind of argument is why it is pretty difficult to come up with a comprehensive set of features for a broad category like 'bird'. Often the best you can do is produce a set of examples demonstrating the category. Humans are pretty good at such pattern recognition from a set of data.

Like a lot of things, it is hard to define, but you know it when you see it :-)

Comment by scotherns on The Twin Webs of Knowledge · 2009-09-01T07:57:09.640Z · LW · GW

I thought it was hopeless before I discovered Evo Psych. Now it's just very difficult.

Quickly debiasing the human race seems a bit optimistic :-) Knowing Evo Psych at least makes it possible to make better predictions, and take more effective action. How can this be a bad thing?

Comment by scotherns on The Twin Webs of Knowledge · 2009-08-31T14:27:45.806Z · LW · GW

You think that there are people who read evolutionary psychology and were pleasantly surprised?

I was VERY pleasantly surprised. Suddenly an enormous set of previously baffling data (i.e. the behaviour of most of humanity) began to make sense :-)

It's hard to fix the root cause of a problem without understanding it.

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-20T14:38:31.947Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the thorough reply. Sorry if I appear to be missing the point here, but I am genuinely trying to understand your point of view.

Re. 4), yes, I worded that badly and it's obvious that you get it!

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-20T11:50:59.061Z · LW · GW

How about if he had said that " The Venus De Milo will still be beautiful"? Or "Jesssica Alba will still be beautiful"?

I personally would have put David fairly low on my list of things that I find beautiful, but I immediately got the intended meaning.

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-20T08:23:28.254Z · LW · GW

Wow, you certainly got a lot from "Women are alluring"! Thanks for clarifying, this is very interesting.

I would be very interested to hear what was your reaction to the phrase "Michaelangelo's David will still be beautiful". Was it anything similar?

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-20T07:44:36.393Z · LW · GW

Is this an expression of your prior about the size of the category, or your posterior? Have you updated your prior on learning (to your surprise) that people apparently do feel excluded/get distracted by this sort of thing?

Prior. I have updated very slightly towards Emily's position, but this is balanced by the responses from every female I have personally asked about this, all of whom fell into the a) or b) response. Of course, we all know that comparing two very small samples is far from ideal :-)

As an aside, would it surprise you if people felt excluded by your telling them that you find their concerns "really annoying"?

No, but excluding people is certainly not the intent. Every time I write something I assume that someone, somewhere will find it really annoying.

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-19T13:45:13.833Z · LW · GW

But are "Women who would be annoyed by the statement 'Women are alluring'" a large potential audience?

I would think that the audience for this specific sentence would break down into (roughly):

a) Those it directly applies to (hetro males, bi females, etc.), who immediately agree 'Yes, women sure are alluring!' b) Those it does not apply to , but who regard it as complimentary (e.g. hetro females), 'Yes, I sure am alluring!' c) Those it does not apply to, but who understand its intention without feeling that it marginalises them. 'I don't get what the big deal about women is, but I know LOTS of people who find women alluring' d) Those it does not apply to, who feel actively excluded. 'I don't find women alluring, the author is trying to exclude me - he really should change the text to something that I like."

I would have thought that category d) is tiny.

Note to Emily: I am really not trying to exclude you or pick on you! I just find it really surprising you would feel excluded by a (positive, and relatively uncontroversial!) comment about women from a male author.

Comment by scotherns on Share Your Anti-Akrasia Tricks · 2009-05-18T09:02:10.054Z · LW · GW

This certainly works for me. I find I can get a significant increase in performance at the gym when I use the machines that are facing towards the posters of attractive women, compared to the otherwise identical machines facing the windows. I know its a trick, and I know why it works, but that doesn't stop it from working :-)

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-15T13:56:32.202Z · LW · GW

Sorry, the rather harsh 'nitpicking' should really have been addressed to the top comment in the chain that started this line of discussion. I placed it as a comment after your contribution because I wanted to point out that even your attempts to give a more generic and widely applicable example will be doomed to failure, because you will always end up making some assumptions about the audience.

Comment by scotherns on Religion, Mystery, and Warm, Soft Fuzzies · 2009-05-15T11:35:20.302Z · LW · GW

I find this type of nitpicking really annoying. Surely everyone (no matter their gender / sex / preferences) understands the sentence 'Women will be alluring' to be a generalised example and can easily convert this to include their own specific preferences without the author having to jump through hoops to provide examples that apply to everyone.

"The touch of another person's skin will still be wonderfully sensuous" - you can't say that - you are discriminating against those without a sense of touch!

"sunsets" - you can't say that, what about blind and/or extreme photo-sensitives

and so on.

If he had written 'Football games will still be exciting' I would have got the intended meaning and moved on, despite the fact that I have zero interest in football.

Comment by scotherns on The First Koan: Drinking the Hot Iron Ball · 2009-05-08T08:35:40.207Z · LW · GW

Agreed. I was very surprised to find Zen was discussed so much in GEB. Although in context it did serve to (slightly) illustrate some points being discussed, it seemed rather out of place, and I found it very tiresome to read.

It looks like there is no chance of enlightenment for me, but as there is no consistent definition of it, I find it hard to care :-)

Comment by scotherns on Is Santa Real? · 2009-03-23T12:08:56.792Z · LW · GW

I'm aiming for:

  • Some things are real, some are pretend
  • It can be hard to tell them apart, and even adults will disagree
  • Learning how to investigate and make up your own mind is more important than specific examples in either category