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Comment by spqr0a1 on Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014 · 2014-05-22T15:01:14.719Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Check out metafilter.

Comment by spqr0a1 on Open thread, 18-24 March 2014 · 2014-03-24T07:36:38.098Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Consider helminthic therapy. Hookworm infection down-regulates bowel inflammation and my parasitology professor thinks it is a very promising approach. NPR has a reasonably good popularization. Depending on the species chosen, one treatment can control symptoms for up to 5 years at a time. It is commercially available despite lack of regulatory approval. Not quite a magic bullet, but an active area of research with good preliminary results.

Comment by spqr0a1 on From Philosophy to Math to Engineering · 2013-11-04T22:32:07.060Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

On the left is Willard Quine.

Comment by spqr0a1 on Open thread, July 29-August 4, 2013 · 2013-07-31T21:05:26.124Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Activity in many niches could credibly signal high status in some circles by making available many insights with short inferential distance to the general public (outside any of your niches). Allowing one to seem very experienced/intelligent.

Moreover, the benefits to being medium status in several hobby groups and the associated large number of otherwise unrelated social connections may be greater than readily apparent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network#Structural_holes

Comment by spqr0a1 on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-07-13T16:02:40.854Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If the commute is mostly flat, consider Freeline skates. They take up much less space than any of the mentioned wheels; the technique is different from skateboarding but the learning curve isn't any worse.

Comment by spqr0a1 on Open Thread, June 16-30, 2013 · 2013-06-18T06:20:10.924Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Adipocyte count is essential to maintaining weight.

It is unclear to what extent weight is genetic rather than environmentally set at a later stage in development.

Given that in adulthood adipocyte number stays constant, and weight changes are predominantly accompanied by changes in adipocyte volume, one may conclude that at some critical point in development the final fat cell number is attained and after this point no fat cell turnover occurs. Analysis of adipocyte turnover using carbon-14 dating (for a detailed methodological description, see Ref. [5]), however, has recently shown that this is not the case, but rather that adipocytes are a dynamic and highly regulated population of cells. New adipocytes form constantly to replace lost adipocytes, such that approximately every 8 years 50% of adipocytes (...) are replaced (emphasis added).

I am unable to find whether fat cell count can be changed over this 8 year time scale, though my biochemistry professor was inclined to that hypothesis.

Obesity can be characterised into two main types, hyperplastic (increase in adipocyte number) and hypertrophic (increase in adipocyte volume). Obese and overweight individuals may exist anywhere along the cellularity scale, however on average certain trends appear. Hypertrophy, to a degree, is characteristic of all overweight and obese individuals. Hyperplasia, however, is correlated more strongly with obesity severity.

Heredity and weight:

at present, it is impossible to conclude whether the average increase in adipocyte number seen in obese and severely obese individuals is the result of adult adipocyte recruitment or rather a reflection of a population of people predisposed (by their pre-adulthood fat cell number) to be become obese/severely obese.

The long-term weight loss cited in this review used a 1-2 year followup, during which time only <16% of adipocytes could have turned over.

it is clear that fat cell number does not decrease in adulthood, even following long-term weight loss. (emphasis added) In line with this, hyperplastic obese individuals have a poorer treatment outcome following diet-induced weight loss than hypertrophic individuals (when controlled for fat mass). Often for hyperplastic obese individuals, treatments other than diet and exercise are necessary if substantial and permanent weight loss is to be achieved. Successful, but invasive therapies include surgery to reduce the amount of calories ingested (e.g. gastric bypass) and/or surgical removal of fat tissue (e.g. reconstructive surgery or liposuction). The recent discovery of a high turnover of adipocytes in adult human white adipose tissue (approximately 10% annually) now establishes an additional therapeutic target for the pharmacological intervention of obesity [1].

Comment by spqr0a1 on Open Thread, January 16-31, 2013 · 2013-01-29T03:32:07.544Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What was bad about the Saxon program for you? I liked its spaced repetition; though being taught in a private school by a retired engineer probably masked any shortcomings in the textbooks. Should I stop recommending Saxon math?

Comment by spqr0a1 on Low Hanging Fruit in Computer Hardware · 2012-06-02T00:10:11.411Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

On keyboard utility: I've been using the a mechanical keyboard for 3 years and enjoy typing on it more than a membrane switch (generic). Prior to this one regular keyboard lasted me about 8 months; at maybe $15 for a cheap keyboard compared to $70 for this, $15/8 months - $80/x months gives a breakeven time of 3.5 years. (IBM/unicomp Model M keyboards can last for decades)

If you have a problem with keyboard durability then mechanical keyboards have slight positive utility, otherwise I would only recommend them if you noticeably preferred typing on one.

Edited to add: The research on repetitive strain injury (thanks wgd!) along with anecdotes of faster typing definitely make this low hanging fruit. Updated to strong recommendation.

Comment by spqr0a1 on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-05T23:44:50.091Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

To prize every thing according to its real use ought to be the aim of a rational being. There are few things which can much conduce to happiness, and, therefore, few things to be ardently desired. He that looks upon the business and bustle of the world, with the philosophy with which Socrates surveyed the fair at Athens, will turn away at last with his exclamation, 'How many things are here which I do not want'.

--Samuel Johnson, The Adventurer, #119, December 25, 1753.

Comment by spqr0a1 on [SEQ RERUN] Beware Stephen J. Gould · 2011-10-18T05:18:42.635Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

How so? That is insight I would like to see. QM does not come readily to my mind from this post.

Comment by spqr0a1 on What are you working on? · 2011-10-08T00:45:25.005Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am trying to access the full article through my library system but it will take some time. It is worth noting that my goal is for light to make me sneeze, if and only if I already feel like sneezing. This is different from ACHOO syndrome as generally described; so I am unsure whether my technique uses the same biological mechanism.

EDIT: Until reading your post I had not considered the possibility that I may be a carrier who had not yet expressed this trait. I thought that I would be able to acquire it through conditioning regardless. Lack of a response from my family suggests that this is an acquired trait for me.

UPDATE: Indeed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7673597 was about to discriminate between this hypotheses. I have the article and it states that 39.3% of those affected reported no family history of photic sneezing. From this and other data they conclude that "... in approximately 25% of cases the [photic sneeze response] may be inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, but the majority of cases appear to be related to environmental influences." They did not identify any causal environmental factors for the formation of this response, but that it is primarily acquired is good news for anyone interested in trying it.

Comment by spqr0a1 on What are you working on? · 2011-10-07T21:58:04.584Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Primarily I was looking for an exercise in conditioning, any practical benefits are ancillary. If progress continues, I will not sneeze unless a specific trigger is present (staring at a very bright light); so it should be a passive benefit with no long-term upkeep. If you have better ways of control sneezing, I am interested in knowing them.

Comment by spqr0a1 on What are you working on? · 2011-10-07T06:01:15.918Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A friend of mine naturally exhibits exclusively photosensitive sneezing. So I thought it would be interesting to try. This study suggests it is primarily acquired and not inherited so I figured it was worth a shot.

Comment by spqr0a1 on What are you working on? · 2011-10-06T17:48:50.990Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Both, definitely. I do parkour regularly; I can reliably run (or walk backwards) on a 7cm wide beam, and am practicing rolls. I lift weights once per week and will move to twice weekly if I want substantially more arm strength than I have now. I also hike often. I have made large gains in physical fitness; as a kid I was always near the slowest of my peers, now I am one of the fastest runners in my laser tag club.

Comment by spqr0a1 on What are you working on? · 2011-10-06T17:21:50.693Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

For over a year now, making full use of my body has been a big hobby. To this end, I am learning silly human tricks. It has taken a few weeks of sporadic effort and I am now able to snap my fingers consistantly. My next goal is to be able to whistle. I have made little progress so far and am not yet able to whistle particular notes. Previously successful projects of this type were refining my senses of smell and temperature. Now I can reliably tell the temperature of water or air to the degree C with a range of roughly -20 to 45C. Calibrating my sense of temperature was easy enough; I would feel something, guess the temperature, then read off a thermometer. If I was wrong, I might say something like "Oh so that's what 23 degrees feels like." and then feel it again.

Other ongoing projects of this sort are to smell relative humidity and to sneeze only in the presence of a bright light. I've lost a bit of progress since last thread, now darkening my field of vision works to prevent a sneeze, but I still sneeze occasionally at normal indoor room brightness. When I feel like sneezing I look at a bright light until I either sneeze or stop feeling like I need to. It could be that the CFL I normally use is not bright enough for my purposes. "Hazards of Light" by Cronly-Dillon et al. suggests that I would be safe using a much more intense lamp.

Comment by spqr0a1 on [SEQ RERUN] Radical Honesty · 2011-08-23T04:24:08.428Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It appears your link to the article is broken. Try this one instead. http://lesswrong.com/lw/j9/radical_honesty/

Comment by spqr0a1 on What are you working on? · 2011-08-16T07:43:48.591Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have taken up baking. I'm baking a loaf of bread or batch of biscuits every day. It requires little effort to prepare and I quite enjoy the taste.

Trying to train myself to only sneeze while looking at a bright light. Over the last three weeks I have sneezed roughly 50 times and just twice without looking at a light. If this works, it will make sneezing less frequent and inconvenient.