Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 June 2015 06:22:46PM 6 points [-]

Can anyone think of a decision which might come up in ordinary life where Baysian analysis and frequentist analysis would produce different recommendations?

Comment author: Lumifer 23 June 2015 03:11:40PM 4 points [-]

There is a paper out, the abstract of which says:

...Second, respondents significantly underestimated the proportion of [group X] among their colleagues. Third, [members of group X] fear negative consequences of revealing their ... beliefs to their colleagues. Finally, they are right to do so: In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many ... said that they would discriminate against openly [group X] colleagues. The more [group anti-X] respondents were, the more they said they would discriminate.

Before you go look at the link, any guesses as to what the [group X] is? X-/

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 June 2015 12:30:45PM 1 point [-]

I haven't looked. Pbafreingvirf.

Comment author: advancedatheist 15 June 2015 02:12:26AM 10 points [-]

I have a problem with how easily people can position themselves as authority figures in social movements which lack competition or standards to vet the candidates. A genuinely capable person might emerge regardless, but more through good luck than through a good process.

For example, Madalyn Murray O'Hair became America's most famous atheist in the 1960's and 1970's because no one else wanted the job, not because she excelled at it compared with competitors. A mediocre but extroverted and opinionated woman willing to take risks could step into the void of the time and assume that title. Even during her life, many other atheists never bought into her cult of personality and considered her a charlatan.

By contrast, in today's world, when many atheists have become minor celebrities, often with best selling books, and when atheists even in hick towns like Tulsa's Seth Andrews can attract followings around the world by setting up websites and uploading podcasts and videos, Madalyn with that kind of competition wouldn't necessarily stand out as particularly noteworthy.

I see a similar situation with today's transhumanist scene. Any newcomer on the make with the right sort of personality (the sort I don't have), willing to exploit social media to present controversial ideas as transhumanist philosophy, could persuade other people into accepting him as a transhumanist authority figure in a relatively short time. It would help if objective standards emerged to assess who deserves this kind of status and who doesn't.

Now, Zoltan Istvan might do something eventually to show that he has the goods. In the meantime I have misgivings about his activities.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 15 June 2015 04:04:53PM *  6 points [-]

How sure are you that O'Hair became the speaker for American atheism because no one else wanted the job rather than because the media focused on her because she was annoying?

Comment author: V_V 13 June 2015 10:36:19AM 2 points [-]

Obviously, the heterosexual identity can only exist in contrast to the homosexual identity. If a group of squid people suddenly appeared on earth, you could bet that a vertebrate identity would develop pretty fast.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 13 June 2015 02:52:14PM 1 point [-]

Obviously, the heterosexual identity can only exist in contrast to the homosexual identity

That may be obvious if you think about it, but I, at least, hadn't thought about it, and found it to be surprising. I'm willing to bet that I'm more typical on this point.

Comment author: Clarity 13 June 2015 10:28:23AM 0 points [-]

Just wondering if you or the OP had any updated ideas about posture interventions since you posted.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 13 June 2015 02:48:14PM 1 point [-]

I recommend Ageless Spine, Lasting Health-- it's got a very sensible feedback system for improving posture and movement. The part I remember is moving your pelvis forward and backward and noticing what position makes your breathing easiest. This is an excellent feedback system for improvement. Possibly TMI, but I found it helped a lot to prevent constipation, something I never would have thought was a postural issue.

However, the author notes that this doesn't work for everyone, and at that point she recommends getting a teacher. I give a lot of credit to people who admit that their advice doesn't work for everyone.

She's got an updated version, but I don't know how different it is.

Uncommon Sensing offering one free Feldenkrais exercise (about forty minutes) per month. Not only are they good exercises (for the nervous system-- they aren't for challenging strength or endurance), but the one-a-month schedule eliminates the impediment of having to choose an exercise from the many available. One of them increased my hip mobility enough so that getting up on a bar stool became easy-- I'm very short, and this is the first that bar stools haven't been an annoyance.

Thanks for asking.

Comment author: Lumifer 12 June 2015 05:28:54PM 1 point [-]

So, are you basically saying that the current Western concept of a being gay is mostly the result of identity politics?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 June 2015 09:42:14PM 2 points [-]

If you want some more fun with the subject, check out Hanne Blank's Straight which argues that the identity of heterosexual is a fairly recent thing-- only about a century old, as I recall. Previously, people thought in terms of sexual behaviors, not identities.

Comment author: Ano 10 June 2015 06:12:17PM 1 point [-]

The real conflict is between the mother and the laws of nature that say that she can't have hips the size of barn doors and still be able to walk.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 June 2015 06:48:17PM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure what you've got in mind there, but it would be worth looking at whether there are some tradeoffs between being able to give birth easily and how good a woman is at walking and/or running.

Comment author: DanArmak 10 June 2015 03:57:22PM *  2 points [-]

That seems orthogonal to NancyLebovitz's point: some women have lower risk than other women when birthing infants with a given head size.

Also, if a woman dies in childbirth, or even if she's injured enough to not lactate well in the days immediately following birth, that strongly impacts the baby. Evolution may not care about how painful birth is, or even how long it takes (now that we don't need to fear predators), but it certainly cares about risk of injury or death to the mother.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 June 2015 05:27:18PM 2 points [-]

Exactly.

Thanks. I was just going to make that point.

Pelvic structure is in play as well as head size.

Also note that there's more to raising children than lactating. Women typically needed to be in good enough shape to do hunting/gathering/food growing.

See Sarah Hrdy's Mother Nature for a reminder that motherhood takes place in the world, not just between the mother and child.

Comment author: cousin_it 09 June 2015 04:39:33PM 6 points [-]

Judging from the recent decline of LW, it seems that the initial success of LW wasn't due to rationality, but rather due to Eliezer's great writing. If we want LW to become a fun place again, we should probably focus on writing skills instead of rationality skills. Not everyone can be as good as Eliezer or Yvain, but there's probably a lot of low hanging fruit. For example, we pretty much know what kind of fiction would appeal to an LWish audience (HPMOR, Worm, Homestuck...) and writing more of it seems like an easier task than writing fiction with mass-market appeal.

Does anyone else feel that it might be a promising direction for the community? Is there a more structured way to learn writing skills?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 June 2015 02:32:43PM 2 points [-]

I think we need both rationality and improved writing. This is a crowd that isn't going to put up with entertaining writing that doesn't have significant amounts to say about rationality.

Maybe a good question is "what is the most fun (interpreted very widely) we can have with rationality? I'm not just talking about jokes and entrancing fiction and smiting the unworthy (though those are good things), but looking for emotional intensity, which can be about cracking a problem open as much as anything else.

Comment author: advancedatheist 08 June 2015 05:35:49AM 5 points [-]

What we call "transhumanism" in 2015, people in a century or two will call "health care."

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 June 2015 02:24:15PM 4 points [-]

I think that some of what we call transhumanism will be folded into healthcare.

My bet is that the baseline of what's considered adequate health will go up, but there will also be a separate category for exploration of what's possible.

View more: Next