Meetup : Pittsburgh - Presentation on Anthropics 2012-04-13T23:16:05.609Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Pittsburgh Holiday Meetup 2011-12-08T22:01:32.442Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Pittsburgh Meetup: Expert Presentation on Motivation 2011-10-14T03:15:56.130Z · score: 2 (3 votes)


Comment by thejash on Meetup : Complex problems, limited information, and rationality; How should we make decisions in real life? · 2013-10-10T05:34:33.346Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can you report back any consensus here? I can't make it (nowhere near there), but am pretty interested in the answers and ideas...

A recording would also be of interest, if people were open to it.

Comment by thejash on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-06-03T05:32:11.257Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Only downside is sort of obvious--they're pretty tight on your head, but I can wear them comfortably all day.

Comment by thejash on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-28T06:55:03.674Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I use classical conditioning on myself with genres of music to either help me focus or to relax. Basically I just always (and only) play a certain type of music when I'm working, and then switch to another type of music when I want to start winding down for the day.

I use these two stations because they have no words or commercials: (work): (relax):

It definitely helps me. Sometimes if I forget to turn off the music I end up working way too late. Also, it's incredible how the focus and desire to work comes on almost instantly when I put my headphones on. I use very good passive noise cancelling headphones (they reduce ~25db of sound), so literally all I hear is the music, and I have to take them off to talk to people/leave the computer, which probably strengthens the effect

Comment by thejash on Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs · 2012-11-11T02:31:26.222Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I went to the very first rationality workshop in May of 2011, and it was literally life-altering. See here for my review and discussion about it in the context of a similar post for the workshops that happened earlier this year:

Comment by thejash on Marketplace Transactions Open Thread · 2012-11-11T02:23:27.357Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It was just an error of omission. The company is called Addepar. For a variety of reasons, the website doesn't do the best job of describing what we do, but it is being fixed.

Comment by thejash on Marketplace Transactions Open Thread · 2012-06-03T18:11:35.737Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If you are a good programmer, the company I work for is looking to hire. We pay very well and offer great perks and benefits (catered breakfast/lunch/dinner, infinite snacks, they buy whatever you want to help you work better, completely flexible work hours and vacation days, plus everything else like health insurance, etc).

Also, the people are great (some even read LW), the work is fun, and the upside is huge. This company is working on a huge problem that will have a significant positive impact in the world, and has the resources to tackle it. There are about 60 people now, and it's set to double in size in the next year. We make actual money, and are very well funded.

Please send me a message if you want to know more/want to apply. Rough requirements:

  • Are you a good enough programmer to get a job at Google? (some of our recent hires were hired away from Google)
  • Willing to work full time in Mountain View
  • Java/Scala familiarity are a plus

Thanks! I would love it if I got to work with more fellow lesswrongers because of this :)

PS: if this doesn't apply to you, but you know someone that might be interested, I would appreciate it if you sent them our way.

Full disclosure: I think I get paid something for recruiting new people, but I don't know how much. I'm honestly just trying to attract more awesome people to work with because I really like this job.

Comment by thejash on Weekly LW Meetups: Brussels, Chicago, Dorset, Fort Lauderdale, London, Melbourne, Pittsburgh, Shanghai, Sydney, Twin Cities · 2012-04-13T23:18:23.652Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also a Pittsburgh one:

We will be having a presentation on "anthropics" by Katja.

I forgot to create the meetup post. Sorry about that!

Comment by thejash on Minicamps on Rationality and Awesomeness: May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28 · 2012-03-31T17:18:22.539Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Someone else above asked for the negatives as well. Didn't we all submit suggestions for improvement and criticisms last year? Are those publishable? If you don't have permission, you could just email people for permission to publish their criticisms. You can definitely publish any of my comments.

Comment by thejash on Minicamps on Rationality and Awesomeness: May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28 · 2012-03-31T17:13:22.879Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I can definitely understand your perspective. I pretty much ONLY read the negative parts of reviews--if there is NOTHING bad, that is a bad sign in itself.

I also commented positively below, but since you asked, here are my complaints about the last minicamp:

  • A little disorganized. Apparently knowing about the planning fallacy does not make you immune to it ;) I suspect this will be fixed for this year.
  • Large number of college students (graduate and undergraduate). I would have liked to see a wider range of attendees. Again, this was probably partly due to the short notice for last year.
  • Some sessions were not valuable to me. However, most of those were valuable to others, so I think this is due more to the fact that brains are different than that the sessions were poorly done.

Actually, I'm pretty sure we all gave detailed feedback afterward (including lots of suggestions for improvements). Could Anna or someone post links to those too? Perhaps seeing the minor details that were negative will help people get a better sense for how useful it was overall.

Comment by thejash on Minicamps on Rationality and Awesomeness: May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28 · 2012-03-31T17:03:52.466Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I helped make some of the food last time. I would call that menu "college random" ;) It was basically left as a problem for us to solve.

I assume that this time they will have it straightened out (and is probably part of the higher price), but I am also curious.

Comment by thejash on Minicamps on Rationality and Awesomeness: May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28 · 2012-03-30T13:25:16.170Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sort of. I meant to say that I decided to make explicit long term, medium term, and short term goals, regularly check their progress, estimate their difficulty and likelihood, and also had a better sense of the space of other opportunities, all as a direct result of minicamp (there was a session or two on goals, sessions on estimation and prediction calibration, and in general while there I realized that I sucked at seeing opportunity costs).

After I did all those things, it effectively resulted in a systematic decision and planning process, since I had a much better sense about what tasks had the highest expected payoffs for my goals, and I simply work on those first.

Comment by thejash on Minicamps on Rationality and Awesomeness: May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28 · 2012-03-30T03:53:06.845Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I attended minicamp last year, and I followed up with almost all of the attendees since then. I have had periodic Skype chats to see how it impacted their lives, so I can pretty confidently say that the minicamp:

  • Had a dramatic positive impact on some people
  • Had a significant (noticeable) positive impact on almost everyone
  • Had no noticeable negative effects on anyone

It definitely had a positive impact on me, but I represent more of a median result than an outlier. Since minicamp, I:

  • Sold my company, and am on track to make more money in the time since minicamp than I've made in the past few years. The decisions that lead to this were a direct result of the systematic decision and planning process I implemented because of minicamp

  • Turned down a job offer at Google to work at an even more awesome company. I both learned about--and got an interview with--this company directly because of a contact from minicamp

  • Improved in a hundred small ways (again, directly attributable to notes I made at minicamp), from fashion (I now regularly get compliments where I got none before) to health (I use less time to exercise and eat, yet feel much better)

There were definitely parts of the minicamp that could have used improvement, but these were mostly a variety of details and logistical mistakes that will go away with practice on the part of the organizers.

If you're even thinking about this at all, you should apply. The cost is HUGELY outweighed by the benefits. I've probably gotten a 10x ROI (assuming I had paid the amount listed here and including the value of the time), and it hasn't even been a year....

I'm happy to answer any questions about my experience (or my observations of others' experiences).

Comment by thejash on Which College Major? · 2012-02-07T03:46:11.700Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, I now think it's possible that you were right about the "average" founder, but for a different reason--it only depends on what assumptions we make about the distribution of rationality within the set of all founders. I'm not really interested in that right now.

However, I am assuming that the audience of LW is MORE rational than average. They should be LESS risk averse, because "A risk averse agent can not be rational" (source: )

Thus, I believe that it is somewhat disingenuous to use that paper to say that founding a startup has negative expected utility--actually, the EXPECTED utility is very high (because the average outcome is great), and it is very rational. We should definitely be encouraging people here to start startups.

Comment by thejash on Which College Major? · 2012-02-06T14:38:36.096Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I went and read that paper. I don't think it says that at all. Their exact conclusion is:

"An individual with a coefficient of relative risk aversion of 2 and assets of $0.7 million would choose employment at a market salary over becoming an entrepreneur. With lower risk aversion or higher initial assets, the entrepreneurial opportunity is worth more than alternative employment"

I didn't understand relative risk aversion, so I looked it up. Here is an example:

"[if you have constant relative risk aversion utility and] If you would give up 2% of your wealth to avoid a 50-50 risk of losing or gaining 10%, then you have a coefficient of relative risk aversion of 4." If you would give up only 0.5% of your wealth to avoid the same gamble, you have a coefficient of 1.

Maybe I'm just not risk averse, but I would not be willing to give up much at all to prevent such a gamble. I'm WAY below a coefficient of 2, and I suspect that many people here on LW are as well.

Comment by thejash on How is your mind different from everyone else's? · 2011-12-06T14:43:33.392Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yup, definitely tinnitus, thanks! My hearing isn't that great, so this is probably related.

Comment by thejash on How is your mind different from everyone else's? · 2011-12-06T14:39:43.340Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not that meaningful to assign a single number, true. I gave my speed for "normal" text--comments, blogs, newspaper articles, "light" books (business/best-sellers), fiction (if I have to/feel like reading it quickly). When I read scientific papers, the speed drops considerably until I am used to the terms used in the field.

Thanks a lot for that comment though, I have less incentive to try training it further now... I am pretty surprised that anything could decrease significantly from trying to train it though. I would suspect other effects at work (like now she is reading a different kind of text, or had previously never measured herself, or the training was nonsense, etc). Any idea what caused the decrease?

Comment by thejash on How is your mind different from everyone else's? · 2011-12-06T01:35:22.429Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

None that I've noticed It's actually quite nice not to feel personally liable when other people are doing stupid things anymore.

If you're willing to generalize from one data point, I say go for it :)

If you DO go for it, note that most of the benefit came from watching the first two seasons, so if you don't experience any change after that, it probably isn't worth pursuing. Also, I watched it with a bunch of friends who all clearly enjoyed it, so that might be a good detail to replicate if possible.

Also if you try it, let me know how it turns out, I'm really curious.

Comment by thejash on How is your mind different from everyone else's? · 2011-12-06T01:21:07.185Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I sometimes (every few weeks) hear a pretty loud, high pitched sound. It eventually (within a minute) fades. No idea if that is normal or not, but it just occurred to me that it might not be.

I read at about 1100 WPM. I had no idea that people sounded out words in their heads until about two years ago, when I was speed reading an article about speed reading and realized I was speed reading. I am curious how much faster it is possible to go? Can anyone here go significantly faster? I want to know if it's worth training further.

My memory of faces might be weird. The more familiar I am with a person, the less I can visualize what their face looks like. But, I CAN visually recall (pretty accurately) pictures of those same people. For example, I have no idea what my mom's face looks like if I think of it in the abstract, but I have a screenshot that I took while we were talking on skype a few weeks ago, and I can visualize that quite well, including the glasses she was wearing, her hair, and the quality of the webcam image.

I have VERY few memories of my life before I was 11. Probably 30. And no memories of my time before I was 6. Consequently I am quite interested in life logging :)

Once I passed out while I was getting a small amount of blood drawn. When I woke up, it felt like literally ten thousand years had passed. I still feel as if there was a gap there (This is not related to the above however, I've always had about the same small number of memories of childhood). That happened when I was about 17, I am 27 now.

The older I get, the slower time seems to go. I think this is partly environmental and NOT mental in that it also corresponds to less structure (the older I've gotten, the less structured my life has become to the point where now I am completely self-directed all day every day)

Comment by thejash on How is your mind different from everyone else's? · 2011-12-06T01:03:35.935Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I also had an uncomfortably strong level of empathy specifically towards people doing something that would make me uncomfortable, in a social sense. When I watched someone talking and embarrassing themselves in class for example, it felt like my insides were trying to escape my skin.

This actually went away after watching all of the seasons of The Office (the American version).

However, I'm pretty sure I feel an abnormally low amount of empathy for other emotional states in other people (both positive and negative, this was unaffected by watching The Office)

Comment by thejash on Value of Information: Four Examples · 2011-11-24T05:21:39.800Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Please write an article about "practical decision analysis". I tried to learn about this briefly before, but didn't learn anything useful. I must be missing the right keywords and phrases that are used in the field, so I would definitely appreciate an overview, or anything that helps improve everyday decision making.

Comment by thejash on Living Forever is Hard, part 2: Adult Longevity · 2011-09-10T18:17:32.582Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Up-voted for the great links at the end about diet and nutrition as related to longevity. I've been looking for something exactly like that (a relatively scientific overview of nutrition as related to living as long as possible) for a long time.


Comment by thejash on Freedom From Choice: Should we surrender our freedom to an external agent? How much? · 2011-05-26T17:22:55.363Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Just a few quick points, to help:

The main problem is that the article is all over the place. Next time, try to pick a single coherent thing that you want to say, and just say that, in as few of words as possible, with as much evidence (in the form of links to either LW, or outside sources, preferably scientific) You present far too many questions in the introduction, each of which are far too vague to actually be answered or discussed in a coherent way.

The pictures add nothing. I can think of no other LW post that uses pictures like this (though I could be wrong) There are also typos, and misunderstandings of some concepts.

I would suggest reading a little bit more of the site, specifically some of the hardcore articles about decision theory, etc. Then you will have a better idea about how to write a good post. I hope that was helpful!

Comment by thejash on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Nearly there · 2011-05-26T17:10:12.920Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Above, emile broke it down to:

"Current reasons to vote on a post: A: Agree/disagree with the conclusion B: Think the post is well argued / badly argued C: Think the post is witty / appeals to applause lights"

Separating into agree/disagree and upvote/downvote changes it into A and B+C, as emile pointed out.

However, none of us really want karma to be about C. Maybe we could do better with a simple rewording? "good argument/poor argument" vs "upvote/downvote"? Wording could go in place of the icons, or as hover text.

Comment by thejash on Peter Thiel announces the 20 talented people he will pay to drop out of college to pursue innovative scientific and technical projects · 2011-05-26T02:17:40.196Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that unrealistic projects have long time horizons. They ALSO require lots of people and capital. Starting a NEW, long-term project is NOT a task cut out for a young person--you need connections and experience for it to have a good chance of succeeding.

The candidates who want to work towards these unrealistic goals SHOULD--but they should do so in a way that is more likely to succeed. In this case, a better use of the person and $100K would be giving him a job at SpaceX (which Thiel is an investor in), and using the $100K to hire another person there too :)

Also, it's funny that you mention that other quote. Am I the only one that reads that and sees a contradiction? You cant fight the problem of "oh no researchers aren't thinking long-term enough" by telling them to "bring technologies out of the lab and into the market sooner..." I understand what she's trying to do, it's just written strangely.

Comment by thejash on Peter Thiel announces the 20 talented people he will pay to drop out of college to pursue innovative scientific and technical projects · 2011-05-26T00:44:58.792Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Overall, very neat and I'm glad it's being done, and some of the projects look promising. All of the people selected seem exceptionally bright.

However, it seems that some of the projects are so unrealistic as to be counter-productive. As the most glaring example, one person wants to "develop space industry technologies to solve the problem of extraterrestrial resource extraction."

Really? With $100K? I am fairly confident that the probability of that is extremely low. I think it would be better, in this case, if the individual went through college and did some directed research, since there is a good chance he'd create something valuable. Directly attempting this goal right now seems like a waste of talent.

I wonder why the candidates with unrealistic projects were chosen. Any ideas?

Comment by thejash on Life Extension through Diet Modification · 2011-05-17T00:42:52.633Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I too have (accidentally) consumed less than 800 calories in a day (got caught up in something and lost track of time). I felt noticeably worse.

Does anyone know if/how much people can get used to such a diet? For people that fasted regularly (more than one day), is it always like that, or do you sort of get used to it? Being distracted by being hungry is a pretty big downside for me since I spend a lot of time programming, and distractions make me considerably less productive.

Comment by thejash on Pittsburgh Less Wrong meet-up April 22 7pm · 2011-04-19T17:59:18.615Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would love to be there, but I'm pretty sure I'll be out of town this weekend. Is there any way we could reschedule? If not, I'm happy to wait for the next one as well.

Comment by thejash on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2011-02-08T13:55:30.299Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Not to be annoying (as I often have questions like this as well), but I've found that Google is remarkably helpful in answering those questions. In fact, I tried two of the example questions and the answers seemed very reasonable to me:

I also use Google's suggestions (ie, by typing into Google Instant or Firefox search bar) to help phrase my question in the most common way, or to provide alternative related questions that might be more what I mean. For example, when typing "how to buy stocks" it suggested:

"how to buy stocks with out a broker"

"how to buy stocks online"

"how to buy stocks for beginners"

Comment by thejash on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T03:47:36.987Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Hi. I lurk because I haven't had time to read enough of the sequences, and because I usually read posts well after they are published. By the time I get around to reading an post, all of my arguments and counter-arguments are already presented for me in the existing comments. That's a big part of why I liked the site in the first place.