Posts

Toronto Meetup, May 24th 2011-05-21T18:16:14.211Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Toronto Meetup, May 10th 2011-05-09T02:50:26.592Z · score: 5 (8 votes)
Toronto Meetup, April 28 2011-04-25T21:05:37.065Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
Toronto Meetup, Apr 14 8pm 2011-04-12T21:16:05.906Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Meta: Meetup Section of the Site 2011-04-12T18:34:40.515Z · score: 4 (9 votes)
Toronto Meetup - Thursday, March 31st, 8:00 PM 2011-03-25T23:49:45.425Z · score: 3 (4 votes)

Comments

Comment by spencer_sleep on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T06:23:43.661Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Or it's not Riddle at all. I was writing out a whack of reasons for this, but there is no need: Eliezer has spoken:

I've edited the birthdate of the person Amelia refers to, to be 1927 - too many people were interpreting that as "She thinks he's Tom Riddle" despite the House incongruence, an interpretation I'd honestly never thought of due to Illusion of Transparency.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-11T06:17:55.688Z · score: 8 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I can also make the testable prediction "The universe will cease to exist on May 19th, 2034 at 10:03:09PM", but unless I had some truly excellent supporting evidence which I posted along with that prediction, I would not expect people to think well of my statement (particularly if I made it in a rambling, melodramatic way that made it difficult to determine the purpose of the post).

Comment by spencer_sleep on Scope Insensitivity · 2011-09-12T01:16:52.826Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Likewise, when you go from growing plants to feed a cow to feed a human to growing plants to feed a human, you >reduce the amount of plants necessary at least tenfold,* which similarly sounds like a tenfold reduction in the animals >killed by farming processes.

This is the main motivation for many vegetarians, from an energy reduction perspective. Ten times (approximately) more plants means ten times (approximately) the energy taken for the same amount of food/energy for the consumer.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Modeling sleep patterns · 2011-04-13T03:17:22.755Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It trends forward every day, eventually wraps around

This sounds a lot like Non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome. The defining symptom for Non-24 is (from Wikipedia) "a chronic steady pattern comprising one- to two-hour daily delays in sleep onset and wake times in an individual living in society". Your delays seem to be longer than 1-2 hours, but it may be a similar problem. I don't know how much you've looked into this, given the impressive extent of your other searches, but it may be something to look into.

Have you tried light therapy? Wikipedia (and this study) recommend it, perhaps in combination with melatonin, as the most effective treatment of Non-24.

Not sure how valid this is, but it might be worth looking into, if you haven't already.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Toronto Meetup, Apr 14 8pm · 2011-04-13T00:53:20.066Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Once the group is a little more established, a private venue (someone's house) might work best. Completely dependent on whether or not people have large enough houses in the right neighbourhood (and are willing to put up with us).

Comment by spencer_sleep on Meta: How should LW account deletion work? · 2011-04-12T18:58:58.275Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What if it just kept the first three (or so) letters of the login name? The chances of two people with the same first three letters discussing the same thing is, while not infinitesimally low, well within acceptable limits. If you knew the person before deletion, it would let your recognize them, but it would keep their name from turning up in searches (the main reason, that I know of, for deleting accounts).

Comment by spencer_sleep on The trouble with teamwork · 2011-03-25T21:48:31.067Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I'll just start off by saying that the latter "problem" will never happen outside of college. People simply do not have the time, effort, or motivation to do other people's work when they have their own job they're supposed to be doing. As rwallace astutely pointed out, college projects are way too small. When you are working, you will find that you (and everyone else) will always have more work to do than time to do it, so you (and everyone else) will not do others's work.

Your problem with the first group seems to boil down to the problem that people have different motivations. The sad truth is that this is going to be true in every setting, throughout your whole life. People always have different expectations of what they need to put in, and what they want to get out of a project.. What you need to do is learn to acknowledge that fact, and work with it. There are several ways of doing this. One of the easiest, though perhaps least fair, is (as was already suggested) to assign the work based on how much each person is likely to do. The problem with this is twofold: how much motivation someone has is is fairly hard to judge accurately, and it can foster feelings of resentment in those who have to do most of the work towards those who are (relatively) coasting.

One thing I liked to do with groups in college, which admittedly is not for everyone, was to have periodic meetings. At the end of each meeting we would decide what we wanted done by the end of the next meeting. We would then partition the work that remained (not just that which we wanted done by the next meeting) among the group members. Everyone was encouraged to do as much of their assigned work as they had time to, but there was no penalty except the ire of the rest of the group if they didn't.

So far this sound like how almost everyone does projects, but here's the catch: we made a deal that no one could leave a meeting until the work that was expected to be done by the end of that meeting was done. If everyone did their assigned work, then meetings were short. If no one did it (as happened sometimes) meetings would go into the wee hours of the morning.

This system worked well for us for a few reasons.

1) Everyone got to do as much work (individually) as they wanted. 2) Everyone ended up doing a portion of the work. Those who had difficulty motivating themselves to work on their own got to do their work with others there to goad them into getting it done. 3) Since everyone ended up working together on large portions of the project, no one felt like anyone else was free-loading, as we all saw everyone else doing at least some work. 4) It was very easy to consult with other group members if there was a part you didn't understand, or had difficulty with. This also lent our documents some flow, as they ended up being done mostly in the same style. 5) Most importantly, the work always ended up getting done.

I'm not saying I've solved the problem, that this is the be-all end-all solution to how every group should work. The point of this post (if there is one) is to say that every group needs to acknowledge the fact that motivations differ among group members, and to find a system to deal with that. If my solution is the one you feel would work best for your team feel free to use it, but if not, get to work developing your own. If you and your team acknowledge and work around the problem, your teamwork will be much more harmonious, and will produce results of much higher quality.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Rationality Boot Camp · 2011-03-25T20:48:57.648Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with Vaniver about the time commitment issue. Even ignoring being able to find things for people to do for all that time, and accounting for burnout, and similar troubles, there remains the problem that ten weeks is a sizeable portion of someone's life. Most people, especially those who work during the summer, will have a lot of difficulty putting their lives on hold for two and a half months.

At this point in my life, I could not sacrifice a summer of job experience (and the money I would earn from that). I would be happy, ecstatic even, to attend something like this for one, maybe two, weeks, but ten is simply too much time. Running shorter workshops would also let you do some research, and iron out the wrinkles before you try something on this scale.

I appreciate what you're trying to accomplish, and it's a great idea, and a valiant effort, but I think you're going too big, too fast.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Rationality Boot Camp · 2011-03-25T20:38:49.802Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Fluid and Crystallized intelligence (admittedly measured on IQ tests, which are not perfect to say the least) were both found to peak at age 26 by this study (for those who don't know the distinction between the two types of intelligence, wikipedia explains it rather well). Fluid intelligence levels off between 16 and 18, increases slightly until the mid-twenties, then starts a slow, steady decline. Crystallized intelligence is similar, except it levels off in the early twenties, and decreases much more slowly, though the decrease still starts in the mid-twenties.

Interestingly, the intelligence of people on the lower bound levelled off earlier (by about two years) than that of those on the upper bound.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Verifying Rationality via RationalPoker.com · 2011-03-25T19:39:15.977Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Where did that belief that you would go broke very quickly come from? It seems, if you'll forgive me, a little irrational. If you improve your rationality and knowledge of basic probability to the point where it exceeds that of the average at the table you are playing at, you will (on average) make money.

Unlike sports. where height, reflexes and hand-eye coordination play such a huge factor, there is no intrinsic poker ability. Those who are "naturally" good at poker are simply those who are already more rational, at least in their playing of poker, and have a better prior knowledge (understanding may be a better word than knowledge, as most people do not take time to actually do the calculations) of the probabilities.

I think this is a great idea, though I do caution that people spend a little time practising with free games, or low stakes ones at least, as it can take a few games to get the hang of betting, and to get an intuitive understanding of the probabilities, as you will most likely not have time to calculate them while the game is being played.

The chance (pun intended) to make money off of rationality while doing something enjoyable and practising that rationality is simply too good to pass up.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Toronto Less Wrong Meetup - Thursday Feb 17 · 2011-02-16T22:54:07.958Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

How are we to recognize one another? My current plan is to proclaim loudly that U.F.Os are real and aliens killed J.F.K., and then go to the table which seems most indignant.

Comment by spencer_sleep on Toronto Less Wrong Meetup - Thursday Feb 17 · 2011-02-14T22:32:54.971Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I only just found this site about a week ago, but it's fascinating. I'm slowly working my way through the sequences, and would be happy to meet and discuss with people of a like mind. I can't make it on the 16th or 18th but any other day would work for me.