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Comment author: RomeoStevens 27 February 2014 05:03:52PM *  18 points [-]

Over the last year I have become dramatically better at instilling habits in myself. I posit two main reasons for this. The first is understanding the habit formation process, as summarized by Kaj Sotala here. The second is learning to create plans that are more robust against random failure. I used to model myself as a coherent agent with some set amount of willpower to expend on the various things I found unpleasant. More recently, I model myself as a bunch of sub-agents with different goals. The subagent that tends to make plans for what I’m going to do this week is NOT the same sub-agent that will actually have to do these things. So now I make plans that can take into account a low motivation sub-agent being in charge. Sometimes this is as simple as a part of your plan that says “IF you don’t want to go to the gym THEN you will go to the gym anyway.” Yes, seriously. Sometimes it is making the activation costs of a particular action easier by removing friction from your process. Sometimes it is modeling my future self as an idiot who can’t stop eating cookies and doing things like preemptively throwing cookies away.

How would I actually go about forming a new habit? Let’s use flossing as an example. Trying to remember to floss after I brushed didn’t work. At all. So I had to start strategizing. My sub-agents didn’t have sufficient motivation to care. So I started reading up on the benefits of flossing and looking at images of flossed vs unflossed surfaces in a mouth. This created enough of an emotional connection that I started feeling like I really needed to floss. But I still forgot. Remembering to floss after I brushed was still not working, so I changed it. I put the floss in my room. That way it was available over a much longer period of time in the evening. IF I forgot to floss THEN I would floss in the morning. I thought about positive things while flossing, longevity and building effective habits and having clean teeth. After a few weeks, flossing was finally a habit. I didn’t have to think about it anymore and was able to start working on a new habit.

Comment author: LucasSloan 28 February 2014 12:37:30AM 1 point [-]

The first is understanding the habit formation process, as summarized by Kaj Sotala here.


Comment author: D_Malik 27 February 2014 06:20:19PM 7 points [-]

On eating more fish: How worried should I be about mercury poisoning? Is it worthwhile to carefully select fish for low mercury content?

For instance, one guy on /r/fitness reports that 2 cans of chunk light tuna a day gave him mercury poisoning; while you're not recommending that much fish, I'd expect that health detriments appear long before full-blown mercury poisoning.

(I'm not expecting you in particular to tell me this, I just want to know if someone on LW has already done this research.)

Comment author: LucasSloan 28 February 2014 12:36:49AM -1 points [-]

The health benefits of fish outweight the health detriments of mercury until way beyond the level of consumption you're likely to get to.

Just eat fish.

Comment author: hairyfigment 29 August 2013 09:16:22PM -1 points [-]

Well, how did you hear about it? I didn't (or didn't see it as a real possibility) until I read a mostly non-fiction book by Robert Anton Wilson, long after the age of 11.

Comment author: LucasSloan 29 August 2013 11:45:47PM 1 point [-]

I can't recall at this distance.

Comment author: Izeinwinter 29 August 2013 06:18:54PM 5 points [-]

Harry is very, very likely to have come across the concept of cold sleep. That is not cryonics. Cryonics is the idea of freezing the dead in the hope of fixing the problem later with better tech, even if you do not even know how to revive the frozen at the time. As a serious idea, it is new and fringy, as fiction.. It does come up, but not very often - even people wishing to throw a character into the future usually handwave a stasis field.

Comment author: LucasSloan 29 August 2013 08:45:00PM 1 point [-]

Sure. That still doesn't answer the question of who does hear about it. We could just say that 1% of people who read SF have heard about it, but then my experience is hard to explain - I hadn't read all that much SF by age 11. It seems quite reasonable to say that the 10 years that the Internet existed between me and Harry was decisive, but I'm asking what variables explain the difference between two SF readers, only one of whom has heard of cryonics.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 29 August 2013 05:22:46PM 4 points [-]

SF readers don't know either.

Comment author: LucasSloan 29 August 2013 05:52:17PM 1 point [-]

Does your theory have anything more to say than "the internet has changed things" to explain why I knew about cryonics at Harry's age?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 August 2013 09:30:14PM 2 points [-]

Serious problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gold_production = 2700 metric tons annually produced today. If there are one million wizards in the world, it takes 1000 tons of gold to have one kilogram of gold / 200 Galleons per person (~$50K at today's prices). Or they have to produce a ton a year for a thousand years. How much gold was in pre-industrial e.g. Aztec civilization?

Comment author: LucasSloan 15 August 2013 10:56:36PM 1 point [-]

A little digging suggests less than a thousand tons. Most of the metal wealth extracted by the Spanish empire was in the form of silver, not gold. The spanish were able to mine about a ton a year from hispanola for some unknown period, and the inca paid a ransom of 24 tons for their king.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013
Comment author: ygert 05 August 2013 02:49:34PM *  18 points [-]

I would refrain from discussing it in a public forum like this one.

Comment author: LucasSloan 07 August 2013 02:10:19AM 3 points [-]

I'm sorry, but you've already communicated information about this sort of thing just by saying that.

Comment author: LucasSloan 29 July 2013 09:06:06PM 13 points [-]

Donated $50.

Comment author: komponisto 18 July 2013 01:21:14AM 1 point [-]

Where did the "Top Contributors -- All Time" go?

Comment author: LucasSloan 18 July 2013 01:52:18AM 1 point [-]

They will be on the about page shortly.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013
Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 July 2013 07:13:13PM 1 point [-]

I tried adding the grouprationalitydiary tag to it, but I don't know how/if/when these things reload.

Comment author: LucasSloan 18 July 2013 12:56:07AM *  1 point [-]

Needs the tag group_rationality_diary, they reload every time there's a new comment or every 12 hours.

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