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Comment author: CarlJ 07 August 2013 01:22:51PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: ModusPonies 06 September 2013 02:11:14PM 0 points [-]

Congratulations! I am glad I was wrong.

Comment author: ModusPonies 06 September 2013 02:09:27PM *  2 points [-]

Two big points of disagreement:

—Don't focus on unattainable goals. You can't hang out with both Natalie Portman and Nick Bostrom at the same time, and empty wishing is a wasted motion. Instead of seeking role models, seek the skills they exemplify. Think about how you can meet a group of creative, engaging people within the next week. Is there an improv club or a hip cafe where you can get to know the regulars?
—I don't know that it works to have a single friend for each trait. You naturally conform to the group, not to the specific individuals.

Comment author: wwa 05 September 2013 05:42:24PM 4 points [-]

OK, I get it, this is supposed to be one of those self-help thoughts that are supposed to make you better off if you think them (suggestions for a name for such a thing, anyone?), regardless of whether they're actually true. Well... it doesn't work. My thoughts, roughly in order:

  • WARNING, manipulation / black arts

  • WARNING, causation != correlation

  • WARNING, opinion != fact

  • What about, say, good leaders? 5 people closest to one can't possibly be good leaders themselves because who'd they lead then?

  • WARNING, thesis likely literally false, seek metaphorical sense?

  • Silly and bogus example. You don't transfer attributes by osmosis. If anything, to become e.g. creative, you'd be better off by meeting people who are currently becoming creative not who are already creative.

Comment author: ModusPonies 06 September 2013 01:58:28PM 1 point [-]



black arts

I don't think so. It seems about as black as using the pomodoro technique to manipulate your basic impulses.

causation != correlation

Yes, but given the evidence, I'm pretty sure there's a causal relationship in this case.

What about, say, good leaders?

Data point: I have recently improved my leadership skills by spending time with good leaders in a group that considers those traits high status. (Good leaders still made up a (substantial) minority of the group.)

thesis likely literally false, seek metaphorical sense?

Strong agreement. The thesis is explicitly labeled as literally false in the source.

If anything, to become e.g. creative, you'd be better off by meeting people who are currently becoming creative not who are already creative.

I would be really, really, interested to see data on this. My intuition says you'd do best to spend time with a range of people: a little time with masters, a lot of time with people who are somewhat better than you but whose skills seem within reach, a lot of time with people at your level, and a little time with novices who you can teach.

Comment author: diegocaleiro 05 September 2013 10:58:48PM 2 points [-]

Thanks, I had no idea why people were downvoting this, and you gave me a better idea. I fully agree with the osmosis problem you mention.

I wonder why Modus Ponies got 66 upvotes for saying that same thing.

Comment author: ModusPonies 06 September 2013 01:36:19PM 1 point [-]

—I started by giving the long, true version.
—When I gave the incorrect, pithy version, I labelled it as such.
—I gave a specific, non-hypothetical example.

Comment author: RolfAndreassen 23 July 2013 04:59:21PM 6 points [-]

A while back I saw a post or comment by someone in the London meetup, offering help to newcomers; I can't find the thread, so I'm posting here in the hope that someone in London will see it. I've been offered a job in London, and would like to ask some questions about prices, commute times, and crime rates, so I can decide whether the pay is reasonable. In particular, the job offer is a postdoc at Imperial; what sort of apartments (for a family of three) can one get in an area that's some combination of

a) Close to the campus b) Not too crime-ridden c) Cheap?

What sort of food, utilities, and entertainment (utilons?) budgets do people in London have?

Comment author: ModusPonies 25 July 2013 01:41:11AM 1 point [-]

For reference, it's this thread.

Comment author: peter_hurford 23 July 2013 08:31:30PM 3 points [-]

Yvain has overtly written a series, though.

Comment author: ModusPonies 23 July 2013 08:52:07PM 1 point [-]

Huh. My to-read list keeps getting longer and longer.

Comment author: peter_hurford 22 July 2013 01:38:11PM 2 points [-]

Thus the rule of thumb: never post a series until you've finished writing it.

Comment author: ModusPonies 23 July 2013 07:09:46PM 2 points [-]

I would suggest a different rule of thumb, which I will call the Yvain Method: never post a series. Instead, write one post that stands on its own. Look at the responses. Use them to learn about the subject and other people's reactions to it. Only then should you think about writing post N+1.

Meetup : [Boston] Becoming Stronger

0 ModusPonies 23 July 2013 02:54PM

Discussion article for the meetup : [Boston] Becoming Stronger

WHEN: 28 July 2013 02:00:00PM (-0400)

WHERE: 25 Ames St, Cambridge, MA

What are you currently doing to make yourself a better person? Are you overcoming mental hurdles, improving your skills, or trying new things? We'll break into small groups and talk about our current projects in as much detail as is comfortable. This is an opportunity to get feedback on your plans and take useful ideas from other people.


Cambridge/Boston-area Less Wrong meetups are every Sunday at 2pm in MIT's building 66 at 25 Ames St, room 156. Room number subject to change based on availability; signs will be posted with the actual room number.


Our default schedule is as follows:

—Phase 1: Arrival, greetings, unstructured conversation.

—Phase 2: The headline event. This starts promptly at 2:30, and lasts 30-60 minutes.

—Phase 3: Further discussion. We'll explore the ideas raised in phase 2, often in smaller groups.

—Phase 4: Dinner. It's about a ten minute walk to the usual restaurant.

Discussion article for the meetup : [Boston] Becoming Stronger

Comment author: ModusPonies 23 July 2013 01:51:14PM 22 points [-]

I have already decided to improve some of the pages, beginning with the rather sloppy page that’s currently serving as the entry for existential risks

Ten bonus points for Doing The Work. You have already avoided the most common way these projects fail.

Comment author: ModusPonies 21 July 2013 06:48:34PM 13 points [-]

Without commenting on the subject, I'll say that I have a policy of downvoting contentless introduction posts that promise a lengthy forcoming sequence. These projects usually peter out after 2-3 posts, leaving the bulk of the work undone.

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