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

Meetup : Montreal Effective Altruism: Global Poverty

2 bartimaeus 10 January 2015 03:38PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal Effective Altruism: Global Poverty

WHEN: 22 January 2015 10:38:11AM (-0500)

WHERE: 1720 st-denis, montreal

There are a few causes that have the potential to do lots of good in the world per dollar spent. Global poverty is a problem that is:

-Neglected (so there are lots of low-hanging fruit) -Large-scale (billions are affected by it) -Progress is easy to measure

We'll talk about the problem, what some of the most effective solutions are and which organisations seem to be doing the best work towards improving the conditions of the poorest people on the planet.

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal Effective Altruism: Global Poverty

Meetup : Montreal Less Wrong/Effective Altruism - 8, 760 hours: Setting goals for 2015

2 bartimaeus 02 January 2015 10:20PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal Less Wrong/Effective Altruism - 8, 760 hours: Setting goals for 2015

WHEN: 08 January 2015 07:00:00PM (-0500)

WHERE: 1720 st denis montreal

The end of a year is the perfect time to review one’s life, goals, plans, and projects, as well as plan for the upcoming year. Alex Vemeer has been fine-tuning his own review process for several years, and it's a great model to start with. We'll take some time to brainstorm how 2014 went for us, what went great, what needs improvement, and we'll set some milestones for 2015.

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal Less Wrong/Effective Altruism - 8, 760 hours: Setting goals for 2015

Meetup : Montreal - Fun and games

1 bartimaeus 13 May 2014 11:05PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal - Fun and games

WHEN: 17 May 2014 06:00:00PM (-0400)

WHERE: 4109 Ch. Côte des Neiges Apt 14, Montréal, QC

Come relax on a Saturday afternoon/evening, there's bound to be some great conversation, fun games and new friends! I'm thinking of doing something like playing the game Werewolf, or maybe we can play the Clicker game (if you don't know either of these games, you'll see, they're really fun).

If you have any trouble finding the place, send me a PM and I'll send you my phone number.

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal - Fun and games

Comment author: EGarrett 09 May 2014 10:37:53PM 5 points [-]

I did a lot of research into this for my youtube channel, and I also watched some of the Olivia Fox stuff, I think there are a few things that matter and aren't covered in the general theory, like being unrehearsed. I assumed this was covered under "presence," but the way it's described, it sounds like it's the same category as "warmth."

The main thing I noticed that makes a lot of intelligent people uncharismatic is that their speech doesn't match their train of thought. Possibly because they are thinking about too many things at once. I do this a lot when I'm not paying attention, and it makes you speak too quickly, not enunciate, and often mumble or have an unnatural tone to your voice. When you can stick to one train of thought and slow your words down until they match the speed of that one train of thought, you'll find that you naturally pick up the inflection, clear pronunciation, and changes in tone and rhythm that communicate your meaning more clearly and make you sound far more confident and engaging.

It's much easier to demonstrate this speaking out loud instead of in-text, but that would be something great to focus on at the meet-up.

Comment author: bartimaeus 10 May 2014 06:46:00PM 1 point [-]

I agree, and I'll keep that in mind. The topic is extremely broad, though, so I don' t know how much time I'll have to focus on it. I'm actually thinking of having several meetups on this, depending on people's interest.

Meetup : Montreal - How to be charismatic

2 bartimaeus 08 May 2014 12:26AM

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal - How to be charismatic

WHEN: 26 May 2014 07:00:00PM (-0400)

WHERE: 3459 McTavish, montreal

Charisma isn't just "something you're born with"; it's a specific set of behaviors that can be learned by anyone. You can practice these skills, and work on the three main areas of charisma: presence, power and warmth.

I'll present some of the exercises found in The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (by Olivia Fox Cabane), and we'll see if we can find some fun ways of practicing!

If anyone has any good ideas for locations, please let me know; ideally, we would want a location where we can talk loudly without fear of bothering anyone. If the weather permits, we could do it outside.

Discussion article for the meetup : Montreal - How to be charismatic

Meetup : Less Wrong Montreal - Easy Lifehacks

2 bartimaeus 23 April 2014 04:42PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Less Wrong Montreal - Easy Lifehacks

WHEN: 28 April 2014 07:00:00PM (-0400)

WHERE: 3459 Mctavish, Montréal, QC

There are lots of little things you can do to gain massive improvements in your life, and some of these tricks aren't widely known. Let's pool together any life hacks we've accumulated over the years, for the benefit of everyone. Hopefully, everyone will leave with something new to try!

The meetup is in a different room than the last few times; I'll update the event once I know exactly where it is. If anyone can't find it, PM me and I'll give you my phone number.

Discussion article for the meetup : Less Wrong Montreal - Easy Lifehacks

Comment author: MathiasZaman 13 February 2014 09:58:50AM 5 points [-]

You should probably put the city this is happening at in the title. People appreciate it when you do that and you get more relevant views.

Comment author: bartimaeus 13 February 2014 06:00:18PM 1 point [-]

I always forget that...thanks.

Meetup : CANCELLED - Montreal Less Wrong - Easy Lifehacks

2 bartimaeus 12 February 2014 07:16PM

Discussion article for the meetup : CANCELLED - Montreal Less Wrong - Easy Lifehacks

WHEN: 24 February 2014 07:00:00PM (-0500)

WHERE: 3459 McTavish, Montréal, qc, ca

Unfortunately, the meetup has to be cancelled; hopefully it can be done soon. Apologies for the last-second cancellation.

Discussion article for the meetup : CANCELLED - Montreal Less Wrong - Easy Lifehacks

Comment author: bartimaeus 12 January 2014 03:52:02PM *  8 points [-]

I run the Montreal Less Wrong meetup, which for the last few months has started structuring the content of our meetups with varying degrees of success.

This was the first meetup that was posted to meetup.com in an effort to find some new members. There were about 12 of us, most of which were new and had never heard of Less Wrong before; although this was a bit more than I was expecting, the meetup was still a really good introduction to Less Wrong/rationality and was appreciated by all those that were present.

My strategy for the meetup was to show a concrete exercise that was useful and that gave a good idea what Less Wrong/rationality was about. This is a handout I composed for the meetup to explain the exercise we were going to be doing. It's a five-second-level breakdown of a few mental skills for changing your mind when you're in an argument; any feedback on the steps I listed is appreciated, as no one reviewed them before I used them. People found the handout to be useful, and it gave a good idea of what we would be trying to accomplish.

The meetup began by going around and introducing ourselves, and how we came to find the meetup. Some general remarks about the demographics:

  • The attendees were 100% male. There were a few women who were going to attend, but cancelled at the last minute.
  • Only two out of the 12 didn't have a background in science. The science backgrounds included math, biology, engineering and others.

After a quick overview of what rationality is, people wanted to go through the handout. We read through each of the skills, several of which sparked interesting discussions. Although the conversation went off on tangents often, the tangents were very productive as they served to explain what rationality is. The tangents often took the form of people discussing situations where they had noticed people reacting in the ways that are described in the handout, and how someone should think in such cases.

The exercise that is described on the second page of the handout was not successful. I had been trying to find beliefs that are not too controversial, but might still cause people to disagree with them. Feedback from the group indicated that I could have used more controversial beliefs (religion, spirituality, politics, etc) as the feelings evoked would have been more intense and easier to to notice; however, that might also have offended more people, so I'm not sure whether that would have been better or not. If I were to run this meetup again, I would rethink this exercise.

The meetup concluded with me giving a brief history of Less Wrong, and mentioning HPMOR and the sequences. I provided everyone with some links to relevant Less Wrong material and HPMOR in the discussion section of the meetup group afterwards.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments, any feedback is appreciated!

Comment author: bartimaeus 23 January 2014 11:56:34PM 0 points [-]

I don't have time to write a full report, but Less Wrong Montreal had a meetup on the 22nd of January that went well. Here's the handout that we used; the exercise didn't work out too well because we picked an issue that we all mostly agreed on and understood pretty well. A topic where we disagreed more would have been more interesting (afterwards I thought "free will" might have been a good one).

Comment author: shminux 17 January 2014 06:02:37PM 1 point [-]

Your link is broken... Not that I know anything of McGill, but you probably mean this.

Comment author: bartimaeus 17 January 2014 09:19:52PM 1 point [-]

Thanks for pointing it out, fixed.

View more: Next