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Comment author: jkaufman 29 October 2014 05:40:42PM *  3 points [-]

Who do you currently live with most of the time? (Alone, with parents or other guardians, with partner and/or children, with roommates.)

My house is currently: me, wife, daughter, sister, another sister, mother, father. I put "with partner and/or children", but that doesn't seem like a good fit.

Please give the score you got on your most recent PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC IQ test

This makes me feel like I should have an IQ number to put here? Is that a thing people usually have?

Place your right hand firmly on the plate of a photocopier or scanner with fingers straight.

I used a picture of my hand. We're just going for ratios, so that should be fine, and it's a lot easier.

Comment author: Azathoth123 18 October 2014 06:08:17PM *  3 points [-]

I'm curious whether I could have gotten the physics to work out if all rotation was independent, and what else would be different about that world.

Well, for one thing it would be mathematically incoherent.

Actually, rigid rotation is more complicated than you seem to think. While instantaneous rotational velocity (at least in 3 dimensions) is always representable by an axis and an angular velocity, the angular velocity can change even in the absence of torques.

Edit: Also how are you representing orientation as (ox, oy, oz)?

Comment author: jkaufman 18 October 2014 11:42:18PM 1 point [-]

it would be mathematically incoherent.

I'm not sure what you mean. You're saying it's not possible to make a coherent mathematical description of a physics system where something rotates around multiple axes? It wouldn't correspond to our world very well, but why are the mathematics impossible?

the angular velocity can change even in the absence of torques.

Yikes! Yes, even the model I ended up with sounds like it didn't represent rotations properly.

Also how are you representing orientation as (ox, oy, oz)?

This was about a decade ago, so I'm not confident I remember what I did properly. But I think you can represent orientation as a one-time rotation from an initial position. So (ox, oy, oz) are a vector representing an axis with the magnitude indicating how far around that axis it rotates. Does that not work? (It's also possible that I kept orientation as a matrix.)

Comment author: Brillyant 18 October 2014 05:45:41PM *  0 points [-]

Doesn't matter what "they say" in regard to what the right thing to do is, right? It only matters if the act is pure altruism—that is, the giver gets no benefit, or even sacrifices, for the recipient.

My understanding (a la The Selfish Gene) is that the replicating genes of humanity will benefit from even fully anonymous gifts to people we've never met. Altruism is actually self-interested at the gene (or "replicator") level, no matter how purely altruistic (or 'selfless' and 'moral') an action may seen at the level of the organism.

Comment author: jkaufman 18 October 2014 11:26:07PM *  2 points [-]

It only matters if the act is pure altruism—that is, the giver gets no benefit, or even sacrifices, for the recipient.

For there to be a real distinction you don't need there to be no benefit to the giver, just less benefit than the giver could have gotten in other ways. Yes, a fully anonymous gift to someone you'll never meet does make you feel good, but because of scope insensitivity the difference between donating 10% and 20% of income has incredibly little benefit to the giver.

If I see someone donate 20% when 10% would have almost the same benefits to them, and that money could instead if spent selfishly buy other things they would have enjoyed a lot, then their claim that they're doing it because it's the right thing to do seems pretty plausible.

(One counter is that if they will be unhappy donating less than they believe they ought to, then there is a real difference between 10% and 20%.)

Comment author: jkaufman 18 October 2014 05:50:08PM *  5 points [-]

I used to think something could rotate around more than one axis at once. Imagine a pipe sitting in space with some jets on it. Two opposing jets on the middle angled tangent to the curve firing equally would set it rotating around the long axis. Two opposing jets on the end angled perpendicularly to the pipe would set it rotating around the short axis. I thought you could do one of these and then the other and get something that was rotating around two axes at once. Then in high school I was writing some kind of space program that had objects and I needed a way to represent their rotations. Each object was fully rigid and had a position (x, y, z), a velocity (dx, dy, dz), and an orientation (ox, oy, oz), but how should I represent rotational velocity? Each one would be a vector (rx, ry, rz), but what order would I apply them in? Did that matter? How did rotational velocities around multiple axes interact? At this point I went to talk to my physics teacher, who explained that there's no list of these velocities and when something would add a new rotation to an object it instead combines with the existing rotational velocity. Which is why gyroscopes work.

I'm curious whether I could have gotten the physics to work out if all rotation was independent, and what else would be different about that world.

Comment author: Brillyant 18 October 2014 04:37:52PM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure the distinction is real.

Do you have any examples?

Comment author: jkaufman 18 October 2014 05:28:12PM 0 points [-]

Let's say you see someone who gives 25% of their income to the charities GiveWell recommends and says they do this because they think it's the right thing to do. This is enough money that if they're optimizing for your own happiness, social status, long term welfare, or pretty much anything else about them there are almost certainly better ways they could spend it. I guess you could say "they're not being altruistic, they're doing a poor job of acting in their own self-interest" but that seems like a pretty big stretch.

Comment author: Username 13 October 2014 01:15:04AM 2 points [-]

If this experiment in what makes you happy is a) not turning up interesting correlations, b) takes time out of your day to log and curate, and c) is actively making you unhappy, then why are you still doing it? It seems like the one singular result is that doing the research is bad for your personal well being. If I were you I'd cut it out of my life right now.

Comment author: jkaufman 13 October 2014 12:12:30PM 0 points [-]

In general the more data I have the more useful it gets. I don't think it makes me much less happy, and it doesn't take very much time, so I'm willing to pay those small costs to keep the data analysis options open.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 10 October 2014 05:36:25PM 0 points [-]

Makes sense. I think this is still compatible with my suggestion though: you could write a paragraph describing how you feel in this moment. It would be slower for a while but if you followed the rest of my advice you could go back to quick tracking fairly soon.

Comment author: jkaufman 10 October 2014 06:56:02PM 1 point [-]

I guess the problem is I'm not even willing to go through a single week where at random times I might need to write a paragraph on my phone? My current system is fast enough I can almost always immediately respond to a ping, and if it would be too socially awkward I can decide what I'm going to enter and then enter it in a minute or so when there's a break.

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 09 October 2014 09:47:56PM *  3 points [-]

Perhaps one way to improve the measurement would be to structure the question in terms of preference rather than direct measurement - something like "what is the least-good thing I'd rather be doing right now" (ie as a kind of upper bound to current happiness). But there's also an issue of energy level etc.

Comment author: jkaufman 10 October 2014 11:13:27AM *  2 points [-]

Perhaps one way to improve the measurement would be to structure the question in terms of preference rather than direct measurement

This is a really cool idea. But even preference has issues. For example, I like contra dance (a kind of social dancing) a lot, and have a good time when I go. The feel in the moment is one of my favorite things. If you asked me, "would you rather be contra dancing" I would usually say yes. But if you look at my behavior, I don't actually go that often anymore, even when I do have free time. How do you tell the difference between me irrationally underconsuming something I enjoy vs me overestimating how much I enjoy it in posed comparisions?

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 09 October 2014 09:45:39PM 2 points [-]

Have you found any interesting correlations?

Comment author: jkaufman 10 October 2014 11:10:01AM 1 point [-]

Have you found any interesting correlations?

I haven't. I'd actually be a little more interested in trying some randomized experiments; with correlations it's so hard to know if there's really a common cause.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 09 October 2014 11:26:00PM 1 point [-]

Interesting. Re: phone timewasting, I've found having a crappy phone with a slow data connection helpful for avoiding this. Also saves money. (I have a Kyocera Event on Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk plan, FWIW.)

Comment author: jkaufman 10 October 2014 11:09:00AM 1 point [-]

I do enjoy timewasting, and I want to continue to do some amount of it. For example, I count reading facebook, lesswrong, people's blog posts, etc in this category, and if I stopped doing that I would feel both less connected to my friends and less engaged with the world's ideas. But the marginal returns diminish, as always, and sometimes I do it when I should be doing something else.

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