Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup: Communities and the rationalist community 2014-08-18T08:16:07.077Z
Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Social, Board Games and FAI 2014-08-06T08:09:05.826Z
Meetup : Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv): Futurism and The Future 2014-07-23T21:48:18.636Z
Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Social, Board Games and FAI 2014-06-09T20:04:25.224Z
Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Existential Risk and AI discussion 2014-04-27T12:37:31.416Z
Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Social and Board Games 2014-03-26T21:26:41.688Z
Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Productivity Hacks 2014-03-12T22:07:26.233Z
Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Social and Board Games 2014-03-05T17:01:20.532Z
Meetup : Meet Up: Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv): Uses of Cryptography 2014-01-16T11:08:58.150Z
Meetup : Meetup: Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv) with special guest Tomer Kagan 2013-12-16T00:00:30.334Z
Meetup : Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv): Quantum Computing 2013-11-20T16:46:15.598Z
Meetup : Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv): Dealing with Emotional Vampires 2013-10-08T10:21:45.178Z
Meetup : Israel (Tel Aviv) Meetup: Fun and Games with Cognitive Biases 2013-07-27T16:24:54.515Z
Meetup : Tel Aviv, Israel Meetup - Goal Clarification with special guest Cat from CFAR 2013-05-16T16:04:31.681Z


Comment by SoftFlare on Meetup : Israel Less Wrong Meetup - Existential Risk and AI discussion · 2014-04-27T22:10:39.754Z · LW · GW

Hey guys, notice this meetup was moved to Wednesday, April 30th because there is a Rump Session in Jerusalem on May 1st.

See you soon!

Comment by SoftFlare on Meetup : Meetup: Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv) with special guest Tomer Kagan · 2013-12-25T17:11:02.333Z · LW · GW

Directions to the location:

Givatayim, Weizman 18, corner of Gush Etzion, Floor 2, Apt 3. Entry from Gush Etzion st, on the building is a Histadrut Haovdim sign.

Weizman street is perpendicular to Katzanelson st, a 15 minute walk from the diamond exchange from Ramat Gan.

To people coming from Jerusalem: Take line 480 from the central bus station, from Arlozorov in Tel Aviv take the bus described further below. There are return buses till 3:00 am.

To people coming from within Tel Aviv by bus:

Take line 55 from the station near the park (next to the protest tents), and get off on "Weiman - Jabotinsky" station. Go back a ways and you're there. The entry is from Gush Etzion st next to the Taxi station in the building with the supermarket.

Line 45, 60 and 160 - get off at "Katzanelson - Gan Hazikaron", walk back on Katzanelson till the corner of Weizman, take a left on Weizman and continue for one block. The apartment is in the building with the supermarket. The entry is from Gush Etzion st next to the Taxi station.

From Azrieli take line 63 from the station on Begin st next to the Azrieli mall. Get off at "Moetzet Hapoalim" and cross the street. The entry is from Gush Etzion st next to the Taxi station in the building with the supermarket.

By Tel-O-Fun bike: There is a station 10 minutes away in Nahalat Yitzhak. Afterwards go to Aliyat Hanoar, walk one block to the left (North) till Katzanelson. Continue on Katzanelson till Weizman. Take a right on Weizman and after one block you are in Gush Etzion st. The entry is from Gush Etzion st next to the Taxi station in the building with the supermarket.

By Car: There is marked municipal public parking which is free at night, but there isn't a lot of it.

Comment by SoftFlare on Meetup : Meetup: Less Wrong Israel Meetup (Tel Aviv) with special guest Tomer Kagan · 2013-12-16T00:03:22.167Z · LW · GW

Note: We've changed location this time. If anyone needs directions on how to get there, contact me!

Comment by SoftFlare on Meetup : Israel (Tel Aviv) Meetup: Fun and Games with Cognitive Biases · 2013-07-27T16:26:17.688Z · LW · GW

The schedule got messed up in formatting. Here is a fixed version:

20:00 - 20:15: Assembly

20:15 - 21:00: Main Talk

21:00 - 22:00: Dinner and Discussion

22:00 - 23:00: Rump session

Comment by SoftFlare on Meetup : Israel LW meetup · 2013-06-26T09:11:08.623Z · LW · GW

I'll be there as a well.

Comment by SoftFlare on Meetup : Tel Aviv, Israel Meetup - Goal Clarification with special guest Cat from CFAR · 2013-05-21T13:09:41.404Z · LW · GW

We now have a location: Maze 9, Tel Aviv.

There is a nearby parking lot Balfour 6 (Big, close and somewhat expensive) Or if you'd rather not enter the center of town, there is a big, cheap parking lot at Harakevet 20 thats really easy to get to from out of town and is a 10 minute walk away.

Comment by SoftFlare on How to Not Get Offended · 2013-03-26T16:34:23.878Z · LW · GW

Sometimes playing "the offended party" in a social situation has its advantages - especially when dealing with less rational people. Some people find it easier to empathize with you if you show signs of being offended, when all you are is unhappy with a certain state of affairs. I believe this has a net positive effect in certain situations - but must be used with caution because if you are actually offended it might reinforce that behaviour in you.

I'm also not sure if hiding your emotions like that is OK. (as in, morally solid and a good long-term strategy for socializing)

Also (as you stated in part 5), its worse to be offended and not know it. I haven't found a way to stay away from that aside from actually letting myself be offended for a few seconds or minutes before trying to deal with it every so often. Do you have a more effective method?

Comment by SoftFlare on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T19:29:47.696Z · LW · GW

True. I was giving the ambiguity as an example of something people say to claim a policy won't work, without hashing out what that actually means in real execution. Almost every policy is somewhat ambiguous, yet there are many good policies.

Comment by SoftFlare on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T12:09:48.925Z · LW · GW

Beware Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs.

I am for the policy, although heavy-heartedly. I feel that one of the pillars of Rationality is that there should be no Stop Signs and this policy might produce some. On the other hand, I think PR is important, and that we must be aware of evaporative cooling that might happen if it is not applied.

On a neutral note - We aren't enemies here. We all have very similar utility functions, with slightly different weights on certain terminal values (PR) - which is understandable as some of us have more or less to lose from LW's PR.

To convince Eliezer - you must show him a model of the world given the policy that causes ill effects he finds worse than the positive effects of enacting the policy. If you just tell him "Your policy is flawed due to ambiguitiy in description" or "You have, in the past, said things that are not consistent with this policy" - I place low probability on him significantly changing his mind. You should take this as a sign that you are Straw-manning Eliezer, when you should be Steel-manning him.

Also, how about some creative solutions? An special post tag that must be applied to posts that condone hypothetical violence which causes them to only be seen to registered users - and displays a disclaimer above the post warning against the nature of the post? That should mitigate 99% of the PR effect. Or, your better, more creative idea. Go.

Comment by SoftFlare on Replaceability as a virtue · 2012-12-11T01:49:20.175Z · LW · GW

I agree with what you say, and would like to point out that being partially replaceable is also a virtue.

It is said that a good manager is judged in his absence. Furthermore, really good ones don't seem to be doing much at all. My point that while being wholly replaceable is a virtue, as you described - but being partially replaceable is also a virtue, to any small degree of replaceableness.

While Anne could either obfuscate the DB to gain job security and create pains for her replacement, or clearly document it and put her job at risk - either are problematic. What if she has a family? Supporting your family is also virtuous.

What she can do is find the sweet spot and mostly-win on both counts.

Anyhow, having the capability to make yourself replaceable if required tends to make you much more valuable to an organization from my experience - and would actually raise your job security. So, usually its a win-win to be replaceable and wouldn't hire someone who thinks otherwise.

Comment by SoftFlare on Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done? · 2012-12-09T11:40:32.043Z · LW · GW

We might want to consider methods of raising standards for community members via barriers of entry employed elsewhere (Either for posting, getting at some or all the content, or even hearing about the site's existance):

  • An application process for entry (Workplaces (ie Valve), MUD sites)
  • Regulating influx using a member cap (Torrent sites, betas of web products)
  • An activity standard - You have to be atleast this active to maintain membership (Torrent sites, task groups in organizations sometimes)
  • A membership fee - Maybe in conjuction with an activity standard - (Torrent sites, private online communities, private real-world communities, etc. etc.)
  • Allowing membership only by invitation/sponsorship - (Torrent sites, US Citizenship, Law firms partnership, The Bavarian Illuminati)
  • Having a section of the site be a secret, only to be revealed to people who have proven themselves, A-la bayesian conspiracy - (How classified intelligence organizations work sometimes (not a joke), Internet forums)
  • Karma-based feature upgrading (Stack Exchange, Internet Forums)

Or any combination of the above applied to different sections. If anyone would like to pursue this, I am willing to spend up to 2 hours a week for the next few weeks constructing a solid plan around this, given someone else is willing to commit at least similar resources.

On a different note, and as anecdotal evidence, I have been lurking on LW for years now, and went to a CFAR camp before posting a single comment - In fear of karma retribution and trolling. (I know that its a bad strategy and that I shouldn't care as much. Sadly, I'm not as good at self-modification as I would like to be sometimes.)

Comment by SoftFlare on Science, Engineering, and Uncoolness; Here and Now, Then and There · 2012-12-09T11:23:55.314Z · LW · GW

I think that how "connected to reality" scientists are has to do with this trend.

In older times, being a scientist or an engineer meant being able to exert real, measurable, almost magical force upon your (and people around your's) surroundings. You made a bridge come to existence, you created a vaccine.

Nowadays, being a scientist or an engineer is associated with spending long days holed up in a room doing work which is incredibly complex and expensive, yet does not seem to create net benefit except in rare occasions. Furthermore, this isolation is considered to reduce social aptitude (which is high-status). Compare this to people with capital or social skills, who can almost magically navigate and cause things to happen in our modern very-social world.

The two castes of scientists or engineers which can still "make things happen" are the mad scientist (going against social rules) or the startupist (and his friend, the DIY Maker), and from my local zeitgeist, they are considered positions with status.

Also, this trend is supported by the fact that (As Mitchell_Porter pointed out) scientists get payed to research obscure subjects with questionable value to the world at large. I'm not saying this is bad, but I'm saying that it makes people correlate scientists with obscure subjects.

And how do we fix it? I have two ideas (both of which I actively pursue, and (I believe) let me enjoy a high status life as an engineer and science-lover (Given, I live in Tel Aviv, Israel, where engineers and scientists (I feel) are higher status than the US).

  1. Gain actual real-world power. (Either via capital, social skills, connections, or applicable real-world skillsets)
  2. Use your advantage as a scientist to make people's lives better in the real world. (Make stuff! Explain stuff!)
  3. PROFIT (Please! No! Not the lol tax!)

Yes, this isn't as rewarding as learning more about your favorite subject and requires taking risks, but (and sadly I can't find the reference for this right now) doing hard, risky, not very rewarding work is in itself a way to create status.

Or, in other words, go out and do stuff :) We'll all benefit from it.

Comment by SoftFlare on Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs · 2012-11-09T01:07:33.686Z · LW · GW

tl;dr - I went to the July minicamp, met interesting, ambitious people and am still applying things I learnt at camp months later to a subjectively great effect. Also, instructors and speakers were good, the food was good and I had lots of fun.

I went to a previous CFAR camp, and so can help give evidence regarding how helpful this might be from my personal experience. (I am not affiliated with CFAR).

I signed up for the July minicamp, not really knowing what to expect (and flying half-way around the world to get there). Having gone, I'm very happy that I did (although that might just be me rationalizing my choice). Here are some things that are more objective that happened (Note: That camp had a different syllabus than the workshop):

  • I learned new skills I use every day. For Example - Curiosity (I think about how to be more curious often), Value of information and micro-econ related things (Which I now use to convince my friends to do research before buying expensive things and gauge how much effort to put into negotiating with clients), habit forming and how to have more rational discussions. Its hard to assess whether they brought me a significant improvement (I don't know how life would be not knowing them), but for the more concrete ones (GTD, Anki) the results are immediate. I feel that the fuzzier ones are also helping me (measured for example by how I feel better when using them compared to not) - but that's harder to say for sure.

  • I met a diverse group of people. Some of them I would call ambitious, and most I would call interesting, but that's a judgment call. They did include managers of small companies, programmers, software freelancers, scientists of various fields, journalists and a movie producer. Also, I think I gained from talking to every single one of them. I am still in touch with a couple of them.

  • I learned about X-Risk. While I am very into the instrumental rationality area of Less Wrong, I was never very sold on the FAI-Cryo subjects, and at camp I got to talk to smart people with opinions different than mine and explore the subject. I am still not sold, btw.

  • I learned about subjects outside curriculum, from neuroscience to professional poker. This came from casual discussions with other participants.

  • I had lots of fun. Hanging out with cool, smart, rationality minded people is awesome.

From a personal perspective the CFAR staff did a tremendous job. The speakers were good at speaking, prepared and cared about their material. The camp instructors were constantly available to talk to one-on-one and were knowledgeable and passionate about rationality in general and improving me as a camp-goer specifically. The environment was clean and the food was good. (I think the workshop is in a different venue, so no guarantees on the food :) )

Again, all in all I am very happy that I went and think it was a good investment. This doesn't mean you should go - but given that you are similar to me (analytic, loves instrumental rationality, software entrepreneur, doesn't already know the subject matter, doesn't hang out with lots of rationalists day to day, social), I would give an over 50% probability that you would be happy that you did.