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Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 03 September 2017 08:33:24AM 0 points [-]

This isn't working for me as pumping the intuition you seem to want it to. I think life is worth living and I'd just cut to the chase and pick 1 because option 2 doesn't make sense as a way to get more life. Pattern theory of identity, life is a process, not a weighted lump of time-space-matter-stuff where you can just say "let's double the helping" like this. If you run the exact same process twice, that doesn't get you any new patterns and new life compared to just running it once.

Or if the idea is that I'd be aware of having gotten a second run, the part about the exact same decisions and experiences seems to make this amount to spending a few decades watching a boring home video with nothing you-on-second-trip can do about it and constantly aware that you'll be annihilated at the end. I guess the "maybe the horse will learn to sing" thinking would make sense here, but that's just fighting the hypothetical that the thought experiment will unfold exactly as described.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 21 August 2017 08:46:20PM 1 point [-]

Org-mode is an emacs outliner plugin that has clocking also

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 30 August 2017 05:46:40AM 0 points [-]

And for people on the Vim side, there's VimOutliner for doing workflowy-like outlines, also with a time-tracking component.

Comment author: Elo 21 December 2016 02:00:06PM 3 points [-]

Every day. Do it every day. This is the number one piece of advice for writers, artists. Every day. (An hour every day, less if you can't handle that, and maybe start smaller like 5mins).

Every day. There will be days when your grandma dies, days when it's been raining for 3 days straight, Days where you might have to tie yourself to the desk, days when people are literally dragging you away. Things will happen, you will go on holidays, WRITE EVERY DAY. Every day. Every day. Every day.

Feel uncreative? Do it anyway. You can still produce great work by generating what you think creativity would look like. Every day! Every day. Cannot emphasise enough - every day. (And yes this works for me)

Other than that - have a workspace (future article of mine one day) - a setup that is designed to enable you to work. If this means a bottle of water nearby - that. If it means headphones, extra lighting, 16 pencils all lined up square. A pentagram with candles at the corners. Whatever it is; work out what's stopping you from working, and remove those things. Then work out what's enabling you to work and increase them until you have the most fruitful workspace possible. I can't tell you all the answers to how to make a perfect workspace, but if you sit down with a pen and paper and work through whatever you can think of this should take you well on your way.

Once you are on your way, notice things that distract you and later come back and remove them. Keep tab-closing habits, phone on the other side of the room habits, cup-of-tea-making habits, whatever it takes. Make a good system and a good workspace, then repeat.

And write every day. (probably in the morning is better, probably first thing is better)

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 22 December 2016 05:29:34AM *  0 points [-]

Cal Newport on "Write Every Day". If it's not your main job, you're going to end up having no write days, and if you're committed to a hard schedule a missed day is going to translate into "welp, couldn't make the cut then, better quit for good".

Comment author: Vaniver 25 August 2016 09:43:18PM 1 point [-]

I seem to recall a Yudkowsky anti-NRx comment on Facebook a year or two ago, but does anyone recall / have a link to an earlier disagreement on Yudkowsky's part?

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 26 August 2016 05:18:19AM 5 points [-]

On Moldbug from 2012.

Comment author: CurtisSerVaas 04 February 2016 01:43:07AM 4 points [-]

I also think John Yates's Progressive Stages of Mindfulness in Plain English is orders of magnitude better than all the other meditation books I've read.

From what I could tell from looking at the table of contents (and page lengths) for both, the book/pdfs I linked covers the same content, but is free! Though, I might consider buying his newest book, just because I liked the other one so much.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 04 February 2016 06:10:52PM 2 points [-]

Yes, The Mind Illuminated is basically the same ten-step model as the one in that article, but expanded to book length and with lots of extra practice advice and theory of mental models.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 February 2016 12:21:14AM 2 points [-]

Nonfiction Books Thread

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 02 February 2016 04:59:27AM 3 points [-]

The Mind Illuminated by John Yates is my new favorite meditation instruction book. Has lots of modern neuroscience grounding, completely secular, and presents a very detailed step-by-step instruction on going from not having a daily meditation habit going to attaining very deep concentration states.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 30 January 2016 07:07:01PM *  0 points [-]

I don't know your mind, you tell me? What exactly is it that you find worrying?

My possibly-incorrect guess is that you're worried about something like "the community turning into an echo chamber that only promotes Eliezer's views and makes its members totally ignore expert opinion when forming their views". But if that was your worry, the presence of highly upvoted criticisms of Eliezer's views should do a lot to help, since it shows that the community does still take into account (and even actively reward!) well-reasoned opinions that show dissent from the tribal leaders.

So since you still seem to be worried despite the presence of those comments, I'm assuming that your worry is something slightly different, but I'm not entirely sure of what.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 31 January 2016 08:41:56AM 2 points [-]

One problem is that the community has few people actually engaged enough with cutting edge AI / machine learning / whatever-the-respectable-people-call-it-this-decade research to have opinions that are grounded in where the actual research is right now. So a lot of the discussion is going to consist of people either staying quiet or giving uninformed opinions to keep the conversation going. And what incentive structures there are here mostly work for a social club, so there aren't really that many checks and balances that keep things from drifting further away from being grounded in actual reality instead of the local social reality.

Ilya actually is working with cutting edge machine learning, so I pay attention to his expressions of frustration and appreciate that he persists in hanging out here.

Comment author: Fluttershy 28 January 2016 10:07:24AM *  2 points [-]

I'm trying to help a dear friend who would like to work on FAI research, to overcome a strong fear that arises when thinking about unfavorable outcomes involving AI. Thinking about either the possibility that he'll die, or the possibility that an x-risk like UFAI will wipe us out, tends to strongly trigger him, leaving him depressed, scared, and sad. Just reading the recent LW article about how a computer beat a professional Go player triggered him quite strongly.

I've suggested trying to desensitize him via gradual exposure; the approach would be similar to the way in which people who are afraid of snakes can lose their fear of snakes by handling rope (which looks like a snake) until handling rope is no longer scary, and then looking at pictures of snakes until such pictures are no longer scary, and then finally handling a snake when they are ready. However, we've been struggling to think of what a sufficiently easy and non-scary first step might be for my friend; everything I've come up with as a first step akin to handling rope has been too scary for him to want to attempt so far.

I don't think that I'll even be able to convince my friend that desensitization training will be worth it at all--he's afraid that the training might trigger him, and leave him in a depression too deep for him to climb out of. At the same time, he's so incredibly nice, and he really wants to help with FAI research, and maybe even work for MIRI in the "unlikely" (according to him) event that he is able to overcome his fears. Are there reasonable alternatives to, say, desensitization therapy? Are there any really easy and non-scary first steps he might be okay with trying if he can be convinced to try desensitization therapy? Is there any other advice that might be helpful to him?

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 29 January 2016 07:46:11PM 2 points [-]

This sounds like someone who's salient feature is math anxiety from high school asking how to be a research director at CERN. It's not just that the salient feature seems at odds with the task, it's that the task isn't exactly something you just walk into, while you sound like you're talking about helping someone overcome a social phobia by taking a part-time job at supermarket checkout. Is your friend someone who wins International Math Olympiads?

Comment author: EHeller 09 January 2016 08:51:06PM 2 points [-]

In STEM fields, there is a great deal of necessary knowledge that simply is not in journals or articles, and is carried forward as institutional knowledge passed around among grad students and professors.

Maybe someday someone clever will figure out how to disseminate that knowledge, but it simply isn't there yet.

In response to comment by EHeller on LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 10 January 2016 09:45:55AM 0 points [-]

Maybe someday someone clever will figure out how to disseminate that knowledge, but it simply isn't there yet.

Based on Razib Khan's blog posts, many cutting edge researchers seem to be pretty active on Twitter where they can talk about their own stuff and keep up on what their colleagues are up to. Grad students on social media will probably respond to someone asking about their subfield if it looks like they know their basics and may be up to something interesting.

The tiny bandwidth is of course a problem. "Professor Z has probably proven math lemma A" fits in a tweet, instruction on lab work rituals not so much.

Clever people who don't want to pay for plane tickets and tuition might be pretty resourceful though, once they figure out they want to talk with each other to learn what they need to know.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 09 January 2016 05:36:43PM *  3 points [-]

We're about to see the first generation that grew up with a really ubiquitous internet come to grad school age though

I only know about STEM, but I don't think it will make a ton of difference (will report back once I see a few graduate).

What I'm interested in now is whether in the next couple decades we're going to see a Grigori Perelman or Shinichi Mochizuki style extreme outlier produce some result that ends up widely acknowledged to be an equally big deal as what Perelman did, without ever having seen the inside of an university.

I am quite certain this is very unlikely to become any type of trend (it is certainly possible for outsiders to be great, Ramanujan was an outsider after all).


edit: I think a better example of "credentialism" is docs vs nurses. MDs know a lot more than nurses do, but there is a ton of routine healthcare stuff that needs a doc for no good reason, basically. In academia people ultimately just care if you are good or not. One of the smartest mathematical minds I know is an MD, not a PhD (and is an enormously influential academic doing mathy stuff). There is a famous mathematician at UCLA without a PhD, I think.

In response to comment by IlyaShpitser on LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 10 January 2016 05:32:06AM *  1 point [-]

I am quite certain this is very unlikely to become any type of trend (it is certainly possible for outsiders to be great, Ramanujan was an outsider after all).

Not in the present circumstances, no. The interesting thing is if it would strike a match with the current disaffection with academia (perceptions of must-have-bachelor's-for-any-kind-of-job student loan rackets and stressed-out researchers who spend most of their energy gaming administrative systems and grinding out cookie-cutter research tailored to fit standardized bureaucratic metrics for acceptable tenure-track career path progress), cause more young people who think they are talented and exceptional to drop out, and what they will do once they have and if that trend might continue far enough to change the wider circumstances around academia.

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