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Group Rationality Diary, August 1-15

4 Post author: therufs 01 August 2014 08:44PM

This is the public group instrumental rationality diary for August 1-15. 

It's a place to record and chat about it if you have done, or are actively doing, things like: 

  • Established a useful new habit
  • Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief
  • Decided to behave in a different way in some set of situations
  • Optimized some part of a common routine or cached behavior
  • Consciously changed your emotions or affect with respect to something
  • Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life
  • Learned something new about your beliefs, behavior, or life that surprised you
  • Tried doing any of the above and failed

Or anything else interesting which you want to share, so that other people can think about it, and perhaps be inspired to take action themselves. Try to include enough details so that everyone can use each other's experiences to learn about what tends to work out, and what doesn't tend to work out.

Thanks to cata for starting the Group Rationality Diary posts, and to commenters for participating.

Previous diary: July 16-31

Next diary: August 16-31

Rationality diaries archive

Comments (16)

Comment author: Michelle_Z 12 August 2014 09:27:16PM 3 points [-]

I started a freelance business and have a client already.

Comment author: hamnox 13 August 2014 01:59:48AM 0 points [-]

Congratulations!

What's the business? What inspired you to go freelance?

Comment author: Michelle_Z 13 August 2014 03:22:23AM 0 points [-]

http://mjzart.paperplane.io/ Freelance art. I was doing it a few years ago, but stopped when college became more time consuming. I'm planning on going to Australia on a work/holiday visa this upcoming May, and I need some money to do that. So it was a plan born more out of necessity more than anything.

Comment author: hamnox 10 August 2014 10:36:02PM 3 points [-]

Ham Land Week #2

  • I made an anonymous feedback form, wee. Check it out here. So far I have one response, someone who deigned to inform me that I am a "poo-poo head". I ain't even mad.
  • new habit: Started a new coursera course, Interactive Computer Graphics. Amusingly enough, the course material itself doesn't seem very interactive. It's just throwing vaguely connected factoids out into the world. As I type this up, I begin to wonder if it's high enough EV to keep Calculus in the waiting list. Calculus is so tantalizingly useful in statistics and machine learning, it's driving me nuts that I can't derive any of the formulas I need from scratch. I am prone to making stupid mistakes; not recognizing the underlying math means I have even fewer chances to notice and correct them.
  • Added a whole bunch of tiny rewards to habitrpg for various projects. Literally all they are is "Brag about [project]", and they have a pretty small cost. Just a reminder to let myself revel in victories now again, try to capture that upward spiral.
  • VOI / Emotional responses: I went and murphy-proofed the Equinox ritual I'm throwing. Its theme is heroic responsibility, or more accurately the virtue of The Void. My aims are to have a strong mental/emotional memory of it 6-9 months later; inspire significant, non-depressive changes in behavior lasting 2+ months; and remain in friendly contact with participants 6 months later.
  • Toned down my VOI drawings and neurobio notes to a couple of times a week.
Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 07 August 2014 09:08:32PM 2 points [-]

Established a useful new habit

Installed Anki locally and mobile and used it to learn an artificial language: E-minimal (http://www.ebtx.com/lang/eminfrm.htm ).

Started participation in the Good Judgement Project. I did the required test, was invited, did the training and am now waiting for the questions. Note: A summary of the training might make an interesting post but I wonder whether the material can be cited.

Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief.

Continuing old routines that were successful in the past doesn't neccessarily make them a good idea in the furture after significant changes in context. This obvious fact can be difficult to realize when the routine has become habitual and the original benefit has cemented your feelings toward the routine. Concrete example: Joint family events don't need to continue to be nice and beneficial for all involved after a divorce (or probably comparable life change). Just because one feels that the 'should' be nice doesn't make them so. Reconsider them.

Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life

Bought and started to read Causality ( http://bayes.cs.ucla.edu/BOOK-2K/ ). Whether that makes an impact remains to be seen. Praise is high.

I think pursuing the GJP (see above) also counts.

Tried doing any of the above and failed

I tried to establish a routine for streangth training and mostly failed:

a) I installed a pull-up bar and use it every time I cross it and

b) I tried to do the 7 minute workout daily.

Both failed. I do both only occassionally. It's not that bad because I gamified exercise and award me a point for every 5 minutes of training (different kinds) and average 7 points per day. But it didn't increase as planned.

Comment author: hamnox 08 August 2014 02:51:15PM 2 points [-]

Ooh, Good Judgment Project. I am vaguely familiar with that. I would be very interested in seeing an informal summary of your experience with it.

Kudos for your attempts. The 7-minute workout has struck me as a good idea on multiple occasions, and I still haven't done anything about it. I suppose the next action would be to look through the 7-minute workout and see if there are exercises that would fit well into my morning stretches.

Pretty cool stuff you've got going, Gunnar.

Comment author: hamnox 03 August 2014 08:56:36PM 2 points [-]

In Ham Land...

  • Have given up on two coursera courses which I started late, and continued to get further behind in as time went on for reasons.
  • Just turned my daily 20 min. psychology book reading habit back on. We'll see how that goes.
  • Now dedicating 20 min every Tuesday to murphy-proofing common and terrible outcomes I've googled.
  • Added a habit to draw some visualizations of VOI/EV calculations, doing that pretty much every weekday. I'm hoping to a.) get in the habit of thinking about these, b.) force myself to tone down perfectionism in art and guestimating, and c.) have these cool visualizations hanging up in my room to reference!
  • Also pulling the misc. notes from the neurobio coursera course to make a reference booklet. I doubt I'll ever look at it again after I finish, but it helps me remember. Maybe 60% chance that it'll be nice enough to give to someone else.
Comment author: Metus 03 August 2014 09:11:59PM 1 point [-]

Now dedicating 20 min every Tuesday to murphy-proofing common and terrible outcomes I've googled.

What do you mean by that? Preparing for catastrophic but probable outcomes?

Added a habit to draw some visualizations of VOI/EV calculations, doing that pretty much every weekday. I'm hoping to a.) get in the habit of thinking about these, b.) force myself to tone down perfectionism in art and guestimating, and c.) have these cool visualizations hanging up in my room to reference!

Could you give an example?

Comment author: hamnox 04 August 2014 05:37:48PM 0 points [-]

I would be delighted to explain!

I was referring to preparing for catastrophic OR probable outcomes.

I googled "stuff that happens to everybody" and similar queries to compile a list, and I now intend to go through that list and consider what I would have to do to prevent or deal with each eventuality. A lot of the time, the answer is "not signifcant enough EV to be worth doing something about." Some examples of common things I find significant enough to deal with: "Need to write something down, can't find a pen or paper anywhere," or "Running out of toilet paper in the bathroom".

For similar reasons, I googled for the most awful things that can happen to someone and started compiling a list. A lot of it is probably pretty improbable, but if it's sufficiently bad enough it may be worth trying to make that probability even smaller.

For the VOI visualizations

Comment author: Metus 04 August 2014 10:41:01PM *  1 point [-]

I ask because I have a similar project going on. Are you willing to share the progress on the catastrophic things?

Comment author: Barry_Cotter 15 August 2014 11:39:01AM 1 point [-]

Success: Still exercising, have now read three and a half psychology textbooks, still using Anki for learning Chinese, moved from contextless Anki cards to multiple cloze massive context as recommmended by AJATT.com My savings continue to grow, which is great.

Failures: Opening Habit RPG got aversive due to me constantly dying due to missing dailies on programming and diary writing so I stopped. I have just realised I should take them out of dailies and put them in habits. I also really need to start doing to do lists and planning things, considering what I want to do, etc.

Comment author: hamnox 15 August 2014 10:14:37PM 2 points [-]

7.5x congrats Barry!

I feel ya. HabitRPG can be very discouraging when you're dying. Just remember, habitrpg mirrors life. If you don't really need to do something everyday, then why is it killing you to not? One thing I've found helpful: When I'm worried about not getting any of my habits or to-dos done, I don't try to stick them on my dailies instead. Instead, I make it a daily to fill some quota of habits or to-dos. I don't have to get every habit done every day, or keep track of which days I have to either check off or reschedule the daily. It's only vital that I've made some progress.

Reviews are also important. Have you tried Alex Vermeer's Guide?

Comment author: Metus 22 August 2014 08:10:07PM 0 points [-]

What psychology books are you reading if you don't mind answering?

Comment author: Barry_Cotter 24 August 2014 05:45:08AM 3 points [-]

Introduction to the History of Psychology Good, well written, excellent summary and glossary at the end of each chapter. I'm not finished but so far my only complaint is the obvious political bent in the intelligence chapter.

Psychology, Themes and Variations Clear, concise and comprehensive introductory psychology textbook. Reading the history book has made me aware of some minor errors in it but nothing damning, just a reminder that if you're really interested this is the first book to read, not the last.

Social Psychology Very far from the first social psychology textbook I've read. Doesn't stand out in my mind. Covers all the classic social psychology experiments that are in the Sequences and more. Almost certain to be substantially revised next edition in light of the big replication project in social psychology, seeing as some of the most famous social psychology experiments just don't replicate.

Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence Comprehensive review of the subject, informative, well written.

Comment author: adamzerner 04 August 2014 03:09:59AM *  1 point [-]

In writing my hypothetical apostacy I used to just sort of argue against myself. However, I recently found that it's a lot more effective when I really pretend to be a different person. Like an older and wiser version of myself that is disgusted with my current self's shortcomings. Or a future girlfriend of mine who is a "better" version of me and has different pet peeves.