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

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 23 October 2014 10:20:54PM 6 points [-]

On the subject of supplements, has it struck anyone else how weird an alliance health stores are?

I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but the largest health retail chain in the UK is called Holland and Barrett. It caters to the alternative therapy and woo crowd. It caters to biohackers and allergy-sufferers and body-builders and hypochondriacs. It sells vegan cheese alongside giant cartons of whey protein.

These people are not natural allies. The one thing that unites them is their unconventional desire to either put a specific substance into their bodies, or keep a specific substance out of their bodies.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 October 2014 02:35:31AM 3 points [-]

I've been amused by the GNC (America) practice of having supplements appealing to different markets in separate alcoves-- there were (at least) body builder, new age, bargain, science (sciency?),.... I didn't check to see how many of their supplements were the same things in different packages in various alcoves.

They had one additional clever bit-- the supplements had a life-sized silhouette of the capsule printed on the package so you could see whether they were a size you wanted to swallow.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 23 October 2014 03:40:47PM *  0 points [-]

Is is acceptable for LWers to have more than one account? I'm considering to create a more anonymous account for asking and discussing possibly more controversal or out-of-character topics or topics I wouldn't want to see associated with my name.

What do you think about this?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 23 October 2014 04:18:00PM 5 points [-]

If you don't tell us (sorry possibly too late), we aren't likely to find out, unless your alternate account is so obnoxious that it gets investigated. In this community, that's a damned high threshold.

Seriously, I don't think it's a problem. Nobody objected to Clippy probably being a regular member, though there were efforts to find out who it was out of curiosity.

Comment author: Dorikka 19 October 2014 04:41:21AM 0 points [-]

The survey is long enough.that I'm unlikely to put genuine thought into each of the questions. If none of the answers us closer enough, I'm likely to skip the question. I'm likely to pick numbers it off thin air on any questions asking for a probability. I'm unlikely to actually dig up my SAT scores etc and will guess from memory. I will probably skip half of the bonus questions that Seth uninteresting because there are so many of them.

There are probably other people who are willing to run through the survey to help out but will spend a fixed and not too large amount of time on it. This is likely to introduce some bias and inaccuracy of answers given its current size. Just noting this as a set of trade offs to keep in mind.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 23 October 2014 12:28:12PM 0 points [-]

I was wondering (though this might be missing the point) about some options if you don't want to answer a question.

The options don't cover what I believe is true.
I don't know.
it's more work than I want to put in to figure out an answer.
I'm getting tired of the survey.

Comment author: Azathoth123 14 October 2014 11:23:13PM 3 points [-]

Things like that, yes, but it applies pretty broadly. In my experience (and I've talked about this with a couple close friends to get a sense of the boundaries), anything that generalizes beyond very specific traits tends to trigger dysphoria, and that includes stuff like "you still have a typically-female muscle distribution, so you should probably use workout advice for women initially", or 'well, female bodies are usually more sensitive to extreme temperatures'; the kind of things that are talking about how their body is shaped right now, where it's the growth pattern, rather than assignment at birth, which is important.

If they insist on claiming to be negative utility monsters, I don't see why we should be indulging them.

A lot of this will become less relevant if puberty-blockers become standard, because then a lot of the generalizations will only apply to people who first considered the possibility later in life or were blocked for family reasons.

I find this sentence, and the whole tone of this comment, rather amusing because of how vividly it illustrates the contradictions of their claims. Namely, that people have an "inherent gender" that is independent of their biological sex and not subject to change by any means even as, they hope, all other sex-related traits are changeable.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 23 October 2014 12:19:05PM 1 point [-]

What do you think is going on with trans people? Many of them spend considerable amounts of money and effort to change their genders. (At least in the US, sex change surgery isn't covered by insurance, so far as I know.) They're also generally up against a lot of stigma. They risk their marriages.

These revealed preferences suggest that they really don't like their assigned at birth genders.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 22 October 2014 04:31:13PM 1 point [-]

You should probably include war as another resource-depleting event which amplifies the effects of an epidemic.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 21 October 2014 07:59:02PM 3 points [-]

Is there a good reason to go through a publisher these days? At least assuming that you're not certain you'll get a big publisher who's really enthusiastic about marketing you?

Yes, if you manage to find a publisher they'll get your book in bookstores and maybe do some marketing for you if you're lucky, but as others in the thread have indicated, getting through the process and into print may take years - and unless you manage to get a big publisher who's really invested in your book, the amount of extra publicity you're likely to get that way will be quite limited.

Instead you could put your books up on Amazon as Kindle and CreateSpace versions: one author reports that on a per-unit basis, he makes three times more money from a directly published ebook priced at $2.99 than he would from a $7.99 paperback sold through a publisher, and almost as much as he would from a $25 hardcover. When you also take into account the fact that it's a lot easier to get people to buy a $3 book than a $25 or even a $8 book, his total income will be much higher. As a bonus, he gets to keep full rights to his work and do whatever he wants with them. Also they can be on sale for the whole time that one would otherwise have spent looking for a publisher.

One fun blog post speculates that the first book to earn its author a billion dollars will be self-published ebook. Of course you're not very likely to earn a billion dollars, but the same principles apply for why it's useful to publish one's work that way in general:

Prediction #1: The first B-book will be an e-book.

The reason is that you can’t have great sales without great distribution. There are roughly a billion computers on the planet connected to the internet and all of them can read e-books in numerous formats using free software. There are roughly four billion mobile devices, and most of those will soon be able to read e-books.

The sales channel for e-books is growing rapidly and has global reach. That’s why the first B-book will be in e-format. [...]

Prediction #2: The first B-book will be self-published.

Self-publishing is the best way to get the royalty rate high enough and the retail price low enough to make the B-book a reality.

The fact is that most publishers aren’t going to price your e-book at $2.99 or $3.99. They’ll want it at $9.99 or $12.99, which is probably too high for the market. And they’ll pay you only 25% royalties on the wholesale price, which is too low. If you want an aggressively priced e-book and a high royalty rate, you’ll almost certainly need to publish it yourself.

I feel like if you want money, you should go for self-publishing. If you're more interested in getting a lot of readers, you should again go for self-publishing. Of course the most likely outcome for any book is that you won't get much of either, but at least self-publishing gives you better odds than a traditional publisher. (Again, with a possible exception for the case where you get a big publisher to put up a massive marketing campaign for you.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 22 October 2014 02:55:00PM 1 point [-]

I don't have links handy, but I've seen essays by authors which say that self-publishing and using a publisher both have advantages and drawbacks, and those authors are using both methods.

Comment author: gwern 21 October 2014 02:18:54AM 2 points [-]

is probably not using individual words conscientiously.

I would go further: an author who has not edited down their prose to something tighter and with more bang for the buck is probably too in love with their writing to have carefully edited or considered all the other aspects of their story, such as the plot, pacing, content, or character voices.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 22 October 2014 02:52:59PM 1 point [-]

Any thoughts or resources about the right amount of redundancy?

Comment author: shminux 21 October 2014 06:16:28PM *  0 points [-]

Obamacare, an excellent idea and long overdue, but implemented and deployed in the worst way possible, is a typical example. The Ebola crisis response is another. Handling of the Snowden affair... Take almost any issue, political or economic, international or domestic, and it has been botched pretty bad, not out of malice, but out of incompetence. Well, maybe the Quantitative Easing is an exception, I am not qualified to judge.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 October 2014 11:03:24PM 0 points [-]


Summary: The President doesn't have all that much freedom to control the government. The office was designed that way.

Comment author: Lumifer 21 October 2014 09:28:29PM 13 points [-]

You don't run out of PvE content in games where players produce the content. The major contemporary example is Minecraft.

Another example relevant to this post is real life.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 October 2014 10:32:48PM 3 points [-]

See also Second Life.

When more computer resources are available, I expect to see games where part of the fun for players is remodeling the environment.

Comment author: Metus 20 October 2014 11:49:18AM 4 points [-]

Interesting. Sadly as a student all my days tend to blend and it is more difficult to implement this project as there are a host of default habits active on any day.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 October 2014 12:46:11PM 0 points [-]

It's probably worth experimenting with whether no defaults can work on shorter time periods.

View more: Next