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gwern comments on Open Thread: May 2010 - Less Wrong

3 Post author: Jack 01 May 2010 05:29AM

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Comment author: gwern 04 May 2010 09:17:37PM *  9 points [-]

I have a (short) essay, 'Drug heuristics' in which I take a crack at combining Bostrom's evolutionary heuristics and nootropics - both topics I consider to be quite LW-germane but underdiscussed.

I'm not sure, though, that it's worth pursuing in any greater depth and would appreciate feedback.

Comment author: Metacognition 05 May 2010 07:07:14PM 0 points [-]

Interesting essay.

Comment author: jimmy 04 May 2010 11:06:58PM 0 points [-]

I'd like to see this pursued further. In particular, I'd like to hear your thoughts on modafinil.

JustinShovelain's post on caffeine was similar, and upvoted.

Comment author: gwern 18 July 2011 01:15:52AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: wedrifid 18 July 2011 02:53:28AM 0 points [-]

As of the time I reply there is nothing about modafinil on that page.

Comment author: gwern 18 July 2011 03:10:44AM 1 point [-]

I use aggressive caching settings on gwern.net since most of the content doesn't change very often. Force-refresh, and you'll see it.

Comment author: gwern 05 May 2010 07:21:51PM 0 points [-]

Anything besides modafinil? In part I'm stuck because I don't know what else to discuss; Justin's post was similarly short, but it was mainly made of links.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 04 May 2010 09:50:07PM 0 points [-]

I'd like to see it pursued further. where does alcohol fit in your schema?

Comment author: gwern 04 May 2010 10:19:20PM 1 point [-]

I don't know terribly much about alcohol, so take this with a grain of salt.

I think I would probably put it as an out-of-date adaptation; my understanding is that alcoholic beverages would have been extremely energy-rich, and also hard to come by, and so is in the same category as sugars and fats - they are now bad for us though they used to be good. ('Superstimulus', I think, is the term.)

Given that, it's more harmful than helpful and to be avoided.

I'll admit that the issue of resveratrol confuses me. But assuming that it has any beneficial effect in humans, AFAIK one should be able to get it just by drinking grape juice - resveratrol is not created in the fermentation process.

Comment author: CronoDAS 07 May 2010 12:56:52AM 3 points [-]

Fermented beverages also had the advantage of usually being free of dangerous bacteria; ethanol is an antiseptic that kills the bacteria that cause most water-borne diseases. (And water-borne disease used to be very common.)

Comment author: gwern 07 May 2010 02:04:32PM 0 points [-]

That's a good second way it's an out of date optimization.

Comment author: jimmy 04 May 2010 11:10:28PM 0 points [-]

You might find this paper interesting.

In a sentence, it suggests that people drink to signal trustworthiness.