Honours Dissertation 2010-12-14T05:37:00.533Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
On Lottery Tickets 2010-11-29T08:21:16.743Z · score: -1 (2 votes)
Transhumanism and assisted suicide 2010-10-31T08:48:14.984Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Picking your battles 2010-10-15T11:17:33.191Z · score: 10 (11 votes)


Comment by seventhnadir on IQ Scores Fail to Predict Academic Performance in Children With Autism · 2015-02-15T12:58:36.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for taking the time to math that out :) I have seen a few psychiatrists in the past 5 years and unfortunately medication wasn't an option. I do think I'm performing better with age however!

Comment by seventhnadir on The mechanics of my recent productivity · 2014-02-04T09:24:00.550Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What are the prerequisites math domains someone should be proficient in if they were interested in making this career? I'm a long way off currently (just started learning calculus) and some kind of reference point would be very helpful! Congratulations by the way.

Comment by seventhnadir on A rationalist's guide to psychoactive drugs · 2011-02-13T10:34:46.283Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You've skipped over nicotine. While I've never smoked and could not recommend it (for many reasons) I do use nicotine patches for increased focus and productivity. Nicotine carries a lot of negative associations because of their link to cigarettes but a lot of the dangers of cigarette smoking are actually related to things other than the nicotine itself. The chemicals in a cigarette are quite toxic and cigarette smoke is harmful to the lungs. The fact that cigarettes co-administer MAOI's and have a powerful behavioural trigger that reinforces addiction makes me consider nicotine patches to probably have a low potential for addiction. On the stimulant angle, I also prefer the extended release stimulants, a slower release profile is much less spiky, and lends itself to a smoother experience, less tolerance and less anxiety.

Comment by seventhnadir on Optimal Employment · 2011-02-01T17:56:53.554Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

As a West Australian I think that there are certain expenses you're overlooking. You'd need access to a car, there are no buses or trains to many of the towns (sometimes the larger mining companies do organise buses or chartered flights). Internet will be slow painfully slow and prohibitively expensive, where $200 worth of hardware and $40 a month (on a one year plan) gets you a whopping 1GB of quota. Food is very expensive, alcohol even more so if you're into that sort of thing. Living in the outback can be very unpleasant depending on where you go.

My roommate is an electrician and has done plenty of fly in fly out work, while the money is (often not always) good, he can't handle more than 6 months at a time since there is often not much to do in small towns.

Comment by seventhnadir on On Lottery Tickets · 2010-11-29T16:42:55.700Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

LotteryWest runs the West Australian lottery and the fraction they donate to charity is enourmous, so that's a generalisation that does not necessarily hold true everywhere.

Comment by seventhnadir on On Lottery Tickets · 2010-11-29T11:40:12.800Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I did see it, I would have linked it in the opening sentence but I couldn't seem to make it happen with the tags.

Comment by seventhnadir on IQ Scores Fail to Predict Academic Performance in Children With Autism · 2010-11-18T08:55:23.876Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And I also suspect that it may apply to subgroups of people with Attention Deficit Disorder

It seems the case, the study that comes to mind is Executive Function Impairments in High IQ Adults With ADHD by Brown, Reichel & Quinlan. People with ADHD were much more likely to have Working Memory Index and Processing Speed Index (WMI & PSI) scores two standard deviations below their Verbal Comprehension Index or Perceptual Organisational Index (VCI & POI). As a side note, VCI is considered the best indicator of premorbid IQ.

I've actually been meaning to ask this for a while, can you (assuming this study is accurate) use Bayes theorem to argue that where VCI/POI>WMI/PSI is two standard deviations out, ADHD is a possibility worth considering? (and the numerical value of that possibility if I'm being ambitious?)

DOI: 10.1177/1087054708326113 for those interested.

Comment by seventhnadir on Cartoon which I think will appeal to LW · 2010-11-13T14:10:38.261Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Nice find. Some people claim that it is impossible to know the mind of god, but people clearly have ideas about what it should look like, otherwise how would they recognise it? I always imagine what would happen if "god" did exist and actually came down to Earth to introduce itself. Would the organised religions accept him? What if it started contradicting their scripture and undermining their power?

Comment by seventhnadir on Study shows existence of psychic powers. · 2010-11-12T19:41:48.402Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's true, statistical significance isn't the most sophisticated statistic. My rule of thumb is looking at the p and d values.

Comment by seventhnadir on Study shows existence of psychic powers. · 2010-11-12T10:12:35.778Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That critique doesn't really work for t-tests though does it? Sure, as n increases so does your chance that the finding is statistically significant, but it also reduces the chance of the data being a fluke. If you flip a fair coin a million times holding a banana in your left hand and it comes up heads 55% of the time... there's some explaining to do. Even if the explanation is that it wasn't a fair coin.

Comment by seventhnadir on Goertzel on Psi in H+ Magazine · 2010-11-12T03:58:59.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm in no position to analyse it either, but if psi exists and can be selected for by evolution, doesn't this imply that an AI (or even just a brute force algorithm on the right track) can optimise for it too?

So that's something to consider if there turns out to be anything substantial behind all this.

Comment by seventhnadir on Why should you vote? · 2010-11-04T05:52:59.794Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think one of the arguments declaring that voting is rational is a bit suspect.

But here's the good news. If your vote is decisive, it will make a difference for 300 million people!

In the rather unlikely event that your vote decisive, this is true enough (for US voters anyway). The error he makes though is the assumption that your decisive vote will always create a positive change. If you're going to take the credit for the right decisive vote, you have to take the blame for the wrong decisive vote.

Some people might go on to argue that it's the voters job to make an informed choice, but good luck with that. Even the most informed voter is going to be working with sketchy information, politicians don't always (ever?) deliver everything they promise.

Worse still, you can't even tell what positive/negative real life events were actually dependent on who is in office even in theory, let alone in practice.

I'm not going to say whether voting behaviour is rational or not because I'm not sure everyone is using the same definition as me, but I will say that I think people seriously overestimate the power of their vote.

Comment by seventhnadir on Voting is not rational (usually.) · 2010-11-03T09:40:13.539Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's annoying sure, but what other strategies are available to them? Voting is anonymous process after all. They've succeeded in getting you all the way to the polling booth which is a start. If the voters can't even be bothered to fill out a simple form, that suggests to me deeper problems.

Not that I'm one to talk, I vote for Optimus Prime.

Comment by seventhnadir on Voting is not rational (usually.) · 2010-11-03T09:30:51.571Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

for instance, not voting is illegal in Australia, and incurs a fine.

I'm being pedantic but it's more accurate to say that "Not marking your attendance off on the electoral roll incurs a fine". There is no penalty for then taking your ballot and submitting it blank.

Comment by seventhnadir on Transhumanism and assisted suicide · 2010-10-31T23:43:10.449Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Situations where continuing medical interventions are effectively only prolonging the suffering of the individual and family members. Cryonics as an alternative is very interesting, but I haven't given the topic much thought.

Comment by seventhnadir on Transhumanism and assisted suicide · 2010-10-31T23:34:26.154Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, so it's a non-optimal solution that just so happens to be the best of the crappy options available. Thanks.

Comment by seventhnadir on Transhumanism and assisted suicide · 2010-10-31T11:09:24.329Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Possibly, but consent in this context is a bit tricky.

A depressed person may actively want to die but we generally don't consider a person in this state as capable of consenting to anything.

If that same person had depression AND a fatal illness that will cause them suffer for another joyless 20 years, do we consider them capable?

Your suggestion is a really good rule of thumb but I'm just wondering if there is more to the story

Comment by seventhnadir on I clearly don't understand karma · 2010-10-31T03:37:18.714Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That does seem like the best way to reset your karma. It does feel like a total negative karma should reset to zero after enough time passes.

Upvoted in the interest of saving you the trouble of making a new account. You're now at 0 total karma.

Comment by seventhnadir on HELP: Do I have a chance at becoming intelligent? · 2010-10-27T06:16:52.377Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It should excite you even more then, to know that part of what is on here is a model explaining why this site excites you so much!

I don't know why I'm so excited for you, but I am. It can be easy to feel intimidated by people and comments are sometimes on the blunt side, but if your goal is self improvement people will really respect that (I will at least!)

For what it's worth,I started with the sequences and went from there.

Comment by seventhnadir on Willpower: not a limited resource? · 2010-10-25T12:55:21.057Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

How do they know it's not the persons idiosyncratic "availability of willpower" after a demanding task that shapes idiosyncratic beliefs about willpower?

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-22T19:31:59.951Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

On reflection, you're right. I wasn't aware that the prior investment fallacy existed and I was certainly committing it. Thank you for pointing it out, I'm going to have a look at it in more detail to avoid falling into the same trap in the future.

I think I was a little irked at Daniel Burfoot's comment and those feelings bled through into how I interpreted your post. I feel a bit silly now.

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-22T14:32:32.724Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Your reasoning is correct IF AND ONLY IF the degree is not valuable. The degree however is clearly valuable since it will increase my employment options. If you believe that degree is not valuable, I'll ask that you give your line of reasoning.

Apparently some people here look down on a psychology degree. I don't blame you, the curriculum doesn't do the subject matter justice. The condescending attitude is something you might want to examine though.

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-22T08:02:59.385Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you're 80% of the way through a degree in a field that you care about, I see two options, continue or stop. If I stop, I've wasted time, effort and considerable amounts of money. If I continue, I have to put up with my lecturers unpolished set of beliefs.

Continuing the degree is a perfectly rational course of action. Even assuming that my degree was complete bollocks, there is a market for lemons.

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-17T03:39:24.073Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well keep in mind the golden rule of game theory, players payoffs = players payoffs, not the values you assign them.

So students as a whole go to university to get a degree. As this is a core unit that must be completed, gibberish or not, a rational university student will aim to pass the unit. The lecturer (I've no idea what his payoffs are) makes a career out of advancing his own gibberish viewpoint, so he's also rational. Clearly, while I see a clear failing of the university system, all players are achieving their goals. All players are rational in the game theoretic sense.

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-15T13:15:27.689Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well it is a problem I face a lot, so I'd like to find the best solution.

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-15T13:05:24.095Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My impression of their open mindedness is that it really is an individual thing. Some people agree with me because they want to please people (which isn't what I'm after),

Some people disagree with me and hit me with a confident "but that's just your opinion" (which drives me absolutely insane, what can you even do here?)

Some people listen to my arguments, think about them (this is what I'm after), then come to some sort of conclusion.

I suppose its the second group of people that really frustrate me and make me want to not bother. I say that the idea of "multiple truths" implies that anything can be true. If anything can be true, then nothing is false. If this was the case, why bother coming to University to learn at all? According to what multiple truths implies, if you think it, it's true.

If I'm talking to someone from group 2, I'll get variations on "No you're wrong.", "That's just your opinion" or "I don't care."

All three responses really push my buttons.

Comment by seventhnadir on Picking your battles · 2010-10-15T12:29:19.022Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Considering the amount of time and effort I regularly waste procrastinating, my time doesn't seem to be worth that much. I think there is a very strong chance that if I speak out, other people might too. The well was poisoned early on in the unit where it was declared that "racist people generally have problems with this unit", now most people feel that they'll be vilified if they disagree with any of the coursework. I kind of agree with that assessment too.

Would I enjoy picking the fight? Yes, but I'm also working to change that fact about myself. The fact is, most people in the unit just don't care, they don't see it as an issue. Rather than counter the arguments, they're much more likely to ignore them, leaving me wondering why I bothered trying.

Comment by seventhnadir on Swords and Armor: A Game Theory Thought Experiment · 2010-10-13T00:05:22.112Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

16 possible combination's of Weapon/Armor available, 256 possible combination's of Weapons/Armor between two players.

Only factor in deciding a winner between players is the player with the higher DPS, the margin between the two players is irrelevant.

So you work out the winner in each of the 256 match-ups (16 mirror matches will be stalemates). Armed with the knowledge of what-beats-what, it's just a matter of knowing the distribution what combo's other players went and selecting the best armor/sword combo for that population.

Do these steps seem right?

I'd actually kind of like to work this out, but there has to be a better way to work out the 256 combo's than doing it all by hand. Any suggestions?

Comment by seventhnadir on Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality · 2010-08-12T21:56:12.846Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fair point. There are too many hidden variables already without me explicitly adding more. If Newcomb's problem is to maximise money recieved (with no regard for what it seen as reasonable), the "Why ain't you rich argument seems like a fairly compelling one doesn't it? Winning the money is all that matters.

I just realised that all I've really done is paraphrase the original post. Curse you source monitoring error!

Comment by seventhnadir on Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality · 2010-08-12T21:30:16.212Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

From what I understand, to be a "Rational Agent" in game theory means someone who maximises their utility function (and not the one you ascribe to them). To say Omega is rewarding irrational agents isn't necessarily fair, since payoffs aren't always about the money. Lottery tickets are a good example this.

What if my utility function says the worst outcome is living the rest of my life with regrets that I didn't one box? Then I can one box and still be a completely rational agent.

Comment by seventhnadir on Bloggingheads: Robert Wright and Eliezer Yudkowsky · 2010-08-08T06:48:33.076Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe Wright's friends thought he did great under fire?

I wish I could have watched it without knowing who either person was, rather than just not knowing who Wright was. That would be interesting

Comment by seventhnadir on Bloggingheads: Robert Wright and Eliezer Yudkowsky · 2010-08-07T12:24:47.662Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe I'm just too dumb to understand what Robert Wright was saying, but was he being purposely evasive and misunderstanding what Eliezer was saying when he realised he was in trouble? Or was that just me?

Comment by seventhnadir on Contrived infinite-torture scenarios: July 2010 · 2010-07-24T02:07:16.450Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Jokes aside, is that a common criticism of consequentialist ethics? How do we determine the "morality" of an act by its consequences if the consequences extend into time infinitely and are unknown to us beyond the most temporally immediate?

Comment by seventhnadir on The Robbers Cave Experiment · 2010-06-29T07:32:44.897Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Didn't George Orwell preempt him in "1984"?

Comment by seventhnadir on Let them eat cake: Interpersonal Problems vs Tasks · 2010-06-22T15:11:21.613Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The former due to the rose tinted glasses of the self serving bias and the fundimental attribution error.

On a personal note I'm very attracted to intelligent women but I wouldn't be surprised at all if men in general did find intellectual women intimidating.

Comment by seventhnadir on Let them eat cake: Interpersonal Problems vs Tasks · 2010-06-22T14:08:06.719Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

While that idea is, in my eyes, a good blend of effective and practical, it doesn't rule out all confounding explanations. If this pattern was found, it would not necessarily prove that their potential mates were intimidated by their intelligence.

Perhaps a way of testing it would be going to a dating service and telling random men that the woman they were dating was very intelligent (regardless of her actual intelligence)?

Comment by seventhnadir on Let them eat cake: Interpersonal Problems vs Tasks · 2010-06-22T08:44:53.626Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, some of my more intelligent friends complain that they can't find a man (that they would consider dating) that isn't threatened by their intelligence.

Now is this a social narrative, a post hoc justification of a failed relationship fueled by the self serving bias, or something else entirely?

Dating is one area of interest where anecdotage should be taken with a mountain of salt.

Comment by seventhnadir on Applying Behavioral Psychology on Myself · 2010-06-21T15:37:56.553Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In addition, a guaranteed reward could create an anchoring on the reward, devaluing it.

Comment by seventhnadir on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2010-05-11T01:13:35.387Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

ADHD and Autism share early social difficulties and is nonspecific. One thing that differentiates the two is different profiles of impairment in executive function.

Autism has deficits in verbal working memory, while ADHD has deficits in motor inhibition.

The base rates of ADHD are also much higher than that of autism, so factor that into your calculations.

Comment by seventhnadir on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-18T04:26:15.392Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW


I'm a lurking Australian psychology student. I'm trying to devour information and acquire the skills to help me to separate the wheat from the considerable amount of chaff in my field of study. I'm so fascinated by this blog (worked through most of the sequences in the space of about two months) because to be honest it has more content than my university course.

I have been toying with the idea of posting some of the arguments I've been in recently which would be kind of a case study where I could point to where they might have gone wrong in cognition, but I kind of feel that it might be a bit pedestrian to most readers of this blog.