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In response to Off to Alice Springs
Comment author: D_Alex 17 May 2012 07:33:34AM 11 points [-]

Well... good luck, I hope it works out. Keep us posted.

FWIW, IMO Alice Springs is an odd choice. It is one of the towns that suffers from being small and isolated, without the benefit of having much direct resource oriented employment. There are some social problems in Alice Springs as well related to native Aboriginal population and drinking. It does have the benefit of being a minor tourist attraction, and the arts/crafts scene is pretty good for a small town.

My recommendation, if you want to come and work in Australia, would be Perth, which is a large, clean city riding the mining boom, or towns like Karratha, Broome, Newman and others which have huge mining/hydrocarbon projects happening.

Disclaimer: I live in Perth.

PS. If you do come to Perth, get in touch.

Comment author: Bound_up 24 September 2017 03:22:45PM 0 points [-]

Hey, D_Alex.

It's been a long time, I know, but I was thinking about going to Australia. Any tips you could give for the current day?

Comment author: Bound_up 24 September 2017 12:38:42AM 0 points [-]

I'm thinking of going to Australia as recommended here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/43m/optimal_employment/

It looks like the program run by a fellower LWer at http://ozworkvisa.com/ is gone now?

Does anyone know if there are still people who've put together a fast track for going to work in Australia?

Comment author: Bound_up 30 August 2017 03:31:06PM 0 points [-]

I'm trying to find Alicorn's post, or anywhere else, where it is mentioned that she "hacked herself bisexual."

Comment author: Alicorn 25 January 2012 11:16:56PM 44 points [-]

This is too much fuuuuuuuun

"She's just signaling virtue."

"Money is the unit of caring."


"Beliefs should constrain anticipations."

"Existential risk..."

"I'll cooperate if and only if the other person will cooperate if and only if I cooperate."

"I'm going to update on that."

"Tsuyoku naritai!"

"My utility function includes a term for the fulfillment of your utility function."

"Yeah, it's objective, but it's subjectively objective."

"I am a thousand shards of desire."

"Whoa, there's an inferential gap here that one of us is failing to bridge."

"My coherent extrapolated volition says..."

"Humans aren't agents." ("I'm trying to be more agenty." "Humans don't really have goals.")

"Wait, wait, this is turning into an argument about definitions."

"Look, just rejecting religion and astrology doesn't make someone rational."

"No, no, you shouldn't implement Really Extreme Altruism. Unless the alternative is doing it without, anyway..."

"I'll be the Gatekeeper, you be the AI."

"That's Near, this is Far."

"Don't fall into bottom-line thinking like that."

Comment author: Bound_up 30 August 2017 03:22:35PM 0 points [-]

"My utility function includes a term for the fulfillment of your utility function."

Awww.... :)

Comment author: cousin_it 25 August 2017 01:32:13PM 0 points [-]

Can you think of any tricks that would've helped your past self wake up to its "animal side" earlier?

Comment author: Bound_up 25 August 2017 02:29:23PM 0 points [-]

The obvious way in my case would be to do what I'm doing here, talk in my native tongue about the foreign one I should learn.

A powerful single piece of information would have been to talk about system 1 and 2 and talk over the specific times each fails, and how I should learn to be instinctive and reactive in many social and physical activities.

Another useful thing would be to watch exactly the kind of media I once found pointless and make explicit the rules going on. Chick flicks and girl TV are great for this.

The Improv and the Theatre text would have helped, as also The Gervais Principle series.

Comment author: cousin_it 25 August 2017 05:51:06AM *  1 point [-]

Not bad!

I never had a problem with understanding status moves, my "animal side" is good at that. I'm curious how other people feel though. Do you really need to learn it consciously, because your "animal side" is nonexistent? Or is it just quiet, needing to be amplified?

Comment author: Bound_up 25 August 2017 12:13:37PM 0 points [-]

In my case...I think the instinct was there, but was effectively missing a lot of the time because it was being drowned out by the much louder filter in my head, the one interpreting things in a much more rigid, word-based, "literal" way. The nerdy way, as I've come to think of it.

I think that was the result of my search for truth. I spent time trying to nail down exactly what things meant and so on. This interfered with my thinking about things like "what will they think I mean?" and "what do they think that word means" stuff since I had formed beliefs about the true meaning of their words and stuff.

Social Insight: Status Exchange: When an Insult Is a Compliment, When a Compliment Is an Insult

5 Bound_up 25 August 2017 03:57AM

Some rough synonyms for status include respect, prestige, and "coolness."


Conceptually, the idea I sometimes think of when I try to describe "status" in its constituent parts is that to have status is to have people feel that they owe you something, to feel like they would if you had just given them a gift. The balance of give-and-take in the encounter is tilted in your favor. Picture a king among subjects, being given gifts and praises. Every brush of his hand is itself a gift, every glance of his eyes a praise to the recipient. The give-and-take in a relationship is never exactly equal, and high status people have it tilted strongly in their favor.


With the people you know, you'll have implicitly established an individual give-and-take relationship with each of them, and if one of you fails to give as much as that balance (or imbalance) requires, you'll be asked to apologize. So, if you have a 60-40 relationship (your way) with someone, and they only give you 50, you'll feel offended and ask for the apology. An apology is essentially a recognition of failure to give somebody as much as is expected, and a promise to give them more from now on/take less from now on. In other words, to shift the actual give-and-take favorably in their direction. This is why asking for an apology is essentially a re-negotiation of power/a request for submission.

(You'll note that you can feel offended for being treated fairly if that's not what your give-and-take has been in the past, just like someone can apologize for acting fairly if more than that is expected of them. This is why apologies can be purposefully sought and extracted with the intention of gaining status/re-negotiating the give-and-take of the relationship. Ammunition will be noted, stored, and prepared in advance and the encounter will be initiated at a strategically opportune time. Ammunition includes anything that can make someone feel sorry, and sometimes you can win without ammunition by continuing to act or feel like you've been wronged even without being able to give a justification for it.)

With people you don't know, general status determines how much they "owe" you and you them. If you are high status, people will feel like they owe you even before you've had any give and take. They will treat you much the same way as they would if you had just done them a great favor and they wanted to show you appreciation and thanks.  As I said, having high status = people feel the same way they would feel if they owed you something in real life/you were giving them things in real life.


A compliment can be seen in two ways: an assessment of a person, or as an attempt to raise their status. If you ever hear a nonsensical compliment, it's probably being used simply to raise the recipient's status, not to use language to describe a quality the person has. The entire message is summed up in this: that words clearly identifiable as definitely-a-compliment are spoken at all, not in what those specific words are.

Over-the-top compliments are one kind of nonsensical compliment, and as said, are (on the surface) attempts to raise someone's status, not comments on their qualities or abilities.


Let's blur out the words and look at how giving-a-compliment affects social status.


How good does a compliment make you feel? Scratch that. How good do compliments make most people feel. Personally, I'd feel better about a compliment the more I thought it said something I valued about myself, multiplied by how capable an assessor of that thing I considered the compliment-er.  So if you can consistently guess people's IQ or future success, and tell me you think I've got the stuff, that's an amazing compliment, even if you're the whipping boy of the tribe. It is now my impression that most people's appreciation for a compliment is calculated differently.

Take the effusiveness of the compliment and add a bonus for how much more status than the complimented the compliment-er has (or subtract the difference if they have less status). That's how much people appreciate a given compliment.


Effusiveness can partially be measured without even understanding the language being spoken. The tone and body language will communicate how much deference is being shown the complimented.

You can also find some of the compliment's effusiveness in the actual words. Mostly just look at adjectives and adverbs, though. Are you extremely something-or-other? Cool, bump up the effusiveness a little. Are you tremendous? Ditto. However, whether you're extremely this versus that, or what you're tremendous about exactly, is mostly irrelevant.


As for how status affects things, let's say whatever your status is, someone has status a little bit lower, maybe it's -1 relative to you.`So, penalize the power of the compliment accordingly, it'll come out a little bit weaker than the effusiveness alone would suggest. In contrast, if Johnny Depp compliments you, or even nods at you approvingly, this "compliment" will get a substantial bonus for coming from a higher status person.

"Oh my god; he looked at me" comes from this kind of thing. In contrast, "I don't want your apology/money" also does, when the other person is lower status (being mad at someone is like temporarily treating them like they have much lower status than usual).


You can see how this dynamic will play out if you start with "compliments from higher people feel better" and follow its implications.


If getting a compliment from a cool person feels better, then acting happy to receive a compliment signals that you consider them to be of higher status. At least, if you act happy enough. Get too excited about a compliment, and that suggests that you consider the other person to be of higher status than you (but you still have to do it when they really are higher status; it's quite awkward not to act pleased about a compliment from a higher-up and you'll lose points if you don't act in the usual manner).


So let's say someone of equal status give you a mild compliment, not particularly effusive. If you act all excited, you've signaled that you are lower status than them. If someone of lower status mildly compliments you and you act impressed at all, you've lowered your status even more (ignoring counter-signaling for the moment).


Every compliment is a two-way street. The compliment is a signal of how they perceive your status relative to theirs, and how you receive the compliment signals how you perceive their status relative to yours. Both the compliment-er and the complimented have to choose their move, some choices grabbing for status and others granting it.


You can see how this plays out with low-status people who are desperate to give you over-the-top compliments. Every compliment is also an attempt to receive something. They want to see your reaction. If you respond at all, that validates them to some degree (and potentially lowers your status as a result). If they don't get the reactions they want, they'll exaggerate your merits, practically begging you to be appreciative in some way. You might also notice how awkward it feels to receive such excessive compliments from someone of lower status. (I might recommend taking them to the side, alone, where that feeling will suddenly disappear (mostly) and giving them some tips about not begging so much).


This feeling is instinctive, I hypothesize. It protects your status, and you can see why if you learn this stuff and think it through. But of course, evolution would like to get you not to respond to low-status people without you having to consciously know all this stuff. So it gives you a feeling. A feeling's a lot easier for evolution to give an organism than complicated abstract knowledge is.

This feeling makes you feel unimpressed by low-status compliments and awkward about the whole thing so as to preserve your status via not acting appreciative, lest you signal your acceptance of the compliment-er as higher status than you (or closer in status to you than they are).


On the other hand, a high-status person might find it useful to force you to choose between acting grateful to them and violating social norms. Giving you a compliment can force you into exactly that situation. Maybe you just met and want to impress Party C, so you have to present your nice, civilized face (see "person masks" at http://www.meltingasphalt.com/personhood-a-game-for-two-or-more-players/). Under those circumstances, "violate social norms" is not available to you, so if you receive a compliment, you kind of have to respond, you know? Inside you might be seething, though, as your hated rival forces you to dance through some hoops by offering you ever more effusive compliments.

A compliment, just like a gift, can be an offensive move. It pushes you into a certain role; If you don't act appreciative enough/reciprocate, you might lose points. 


A compliment can be a gift, or an attack, or it can be begging, or it can be a test.


So, let's imagine how these principles play out in a variety of situations.


1. High compliments Low effusively. Low is only mildly appreciative, signaling higher status than they have. High is offended. Low doesn't act embarrassed(have you no shame?!) and loses points in High's eyes.

2. Several Lows effusively compliment a High. Then, one Low says something only mildly complimentary about High. Everyone tenses up a little and looks at Low (to censure him) and High (to see his reaction). Low has signaled possible enmity. The compliment is an insult.

3. A High on the enemy side singles out and insults a Low in your group. The Low is elevated by the attention of the High and is considered "a real player" now. The insult is a compliment. 

I've seen this one many a times in politics, where people are proud when they are personally decried by famous enemies. "Did you hear that Trump said I was dumb? Awesome, am I right?"


In the past, playing by my own rules (compliments are worth most if accurate, informationally-dense, and coming from a competent assessor) led me to, from everyone else's perspective act quite chaotically. To them, it seemed that sometimes I made the appropriate response and maintained status. Occasionally I accidentally executed elaborate plots which ended in my status increasing. But mostly, I consistently broke the rules in a way that lost me status and proved I didn't understand what was really going on. Which I didn't.

Most people seem to play by these rules (and others), so if you want to understand what they're doing, and how your actions look to them, this is one of the building blocks.

Like-Minded Forums

2 Bound_up 19 August 2017 06:26PM

What awesome forums around the internet can you recommend?


LW, OB, EA, and SSC are all in the current rationalist cluster. What forums do you know from outside the cluster that would appeal to those within it?

Comment author: cousin_it 18 August 2017 09:16:17PM *  2 points [-]

No, my objection is not about kindness to others. It's more like I feel that the post is coming from an unhappy painful feeling that doesn't realize that it's unhappy, or that alternatives are in arms reach.

Comment author: Bound_up 19 August 2017 01:54:38PM 1 point [-]

So, more that it's not so much inaccurate as it is coming from an unnecessarily unhappy place?

Comment author: cousin_it 15 August 2017 01:54:54PM *  3 points [-]

My main problem is with the mood of your post, not its overt message. Maybe the best way is to explain how I think of moods.

All people are always in some kind of mood. How does it feel, right here right now, behind your eyes? Is there a whiff of joy, or boredom, or resentment, or emptiness? What flavor invisibly fills your head at this moment?

We nerds have trained ourselves to disregard moods in favor of facts. To accept the truth no matter how it makes us feel, and therefore ignore how we feel. Over time we can even learn to be depressed without realizing it! Few of us notice our own current flavor, much less use it in decision-making or change it consciously.

Think of an exciting person you know, someone who's a joy to be with. What you're feeling isn't some innate quality of that person, but rather the flavor they carry in their head, like a sparkly wine. It can be felt in everything they say or do. More likely than not, they have mental tricks to make the right flavor happen. Maybe you've had such moments yourself!

Now reread your post. It reflects your emotional state at the time of writing. Is that state good and worth sharing with the world? Or is it more of a bitter frustration that wants to cease, to replace itself with something happier? If so, why would you lead anyone else to feel it? After all, it's not the essence of you, nor something you must be faithful to, but just a temporary flavor in your head that you don't even like.

Focus on the space behind your eyes... notice the flavor that hangs there invisibly... and imagine a different flavor in its place, one that would make everything feel right. It's not easy or quick, especially if you've never tried to be creative with moods before, but it's amazing when it works. Everyone around you will feel it too, as soon as you smile :-)

Comment author: Bound_up 18 August 2017 06:49:38PM 0 points [-]

Would it be fair to say you don't think the post is inaccurate so much as you think it is unkind?

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