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

Comment author: hyporational 17 September 2014 12:57:26PM *  2 points [-]

IIRC real estate prices in the US rise about 1% per year inflation adjusted while stock markets rise about 7 % on average. An average person needs a huge loan to invest in real estate and go all in which means zero spread of risk. Real estate is also relatively illiquid not only because of practical reasons but because the return of investment depends on timing of the transaction. You're shit out of luck if you need money while the price of your house is plummeting.

How should one find the 'best' one?

Depends on your risk tolerance. The bigger the index, the lower the risk and the lower the possible returns, generally. Also bigger index funds are usually more liquid. Transaction costs matter quite a lot unless you have a big lump sum to invest, and even then you should consider dollar cost averaging.

Comment author: niceguyanon 19 September 2014 06:59:52PM 1 point [-]

IIRC real estate prices in the US rise about 1% per year inflation adjusted...

There is also real estate taxes just for holding the asset and upkeep expenses too! But to be fair, asset appreciation isn't the only return on real estate, many investment properties are income producing assets. But then again you can just get that exposure from REITS anyway.

Comment author: niceguyanon 09 September 2014 04:57:29PM 3 points [-]

I suspect this trick works by not only reducing decision fatigue, but by also offloading rejection fear, which makes this hack appropriate for social anxiety. Fear of embarrassment is one step removed from myself.

Comment author: James_Miller 11 August 2014 05:59:58PM *  3 points [-]

How morally different are ISIS fighters from us? If we had a similar upbringing would we think it morally correct to kill Yazidi children for having the "wrong" religion? Or might genetics play a role in our differing moral views? I find it hard to think of ISIS members as human, or at least I don't want to belong to the same species as them. But yes I do realize that some of my direct ancestors almost certainly did horrible, horrible things by my current moral standards.

Comment author: niceguyanon 14 August 2014 07:30:13PM 1 point [-]

Here is a Vice documentary posted today about ISIS: https://news.vice.com/video/the-islamic-state-full-length

Comment author: niceguyanon 13 August 2014 05:42:11PM 0 points [-]

Intelligence is how efficient and effective you can model the real world or a problem.

Rationality is the ability to overcome biases and apply that model that is of sufficient calibration and credence, to generate the most expected value.

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 11 August 2014 02:57:22PM *  9 points [-]

What sophisticated ideas did you come up with independently before encountering them in a more formal context?

I'm pretty sure that in my youth I independently came up with rudimentary versions of the anthropic principle and the Problem of Evil. Looking over my Livejournal archive, I was clearly not a fearsome philosophical mind in my late teens, (or now, frankly), so it seems safe to say that these ideas aren't difficult to stumble across.

While discussing this at the most recent London Less Wrong meetup, another attendee claimed to have independently arrived at Pascal's Wager. I've seen a couple of different people speculate that cultural and ideological artefacts are subject to selection and evolutionary pressures without ever themselves having come across memetics as a concept.

I'm still thinking about ideas we come up with that stand to reason. Rather than prime you all with the hazy ideas I have about the sorts of ideas people converge on while armchair-theorising, I'd like to solicit some more examples. What ideas of this sort did you come up with independently, only to discover they were already "a thing"?

Comment author: niceguyanon 11 August 2014 07:59:32PM *  4 points [-]

In 6th or 7th grade I told my class that it was obvious that purchasing expensive sneakers is mostly just a way to show how cool you are or that you can afford something that not everyone else could. Many years latter I would read about signalling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signalling_(economics)

The following are not ideas as much as questions I had while growing up, and I was surprised/relieved/happy to find out that other people much smarter than me, spent a lot of time thinking about and is "a thing". For example I really wanted to know if there was a satisfactory way to figure out if Christianity was the one true religion and it bothered me very much that I could not answer that question. Also, I was concerned that the future might not be what I want it to be, and I am not sure that I know what I even want. It turns out that this isn't a unique problem and there are many people thinking about it. Also, what the heck is consciousness? Is there one correct moral theory? Well, someone is working on it.

Comment author: niceguyanon 08 August 2014 01:50:56PM 4 points [-]

Non-conventional thinking here, feel free to tell me why this is wrong/stupid/dangerous.

I am young and healthy, and when I catch a cold, I think " cool, when I recover immune system +1." I take this one step further though, when I don't get sick for a long time, I start to hope I get sick because I want to exercise my immune system. I know this might sound obviously wrong but can we just discuss why exactly?

My priors tell me that actively avoiding any germs and people to prevent getting sick is unhealthy. So I have lived my life not avoiding germs but also not asking people to cough on me either. But is there room to optimize? I caught something pretty nasty that lasted a month, and I am sure I got it from being at a large music festival breathing hot breathy air, but better now than catching that strain of what ever it was, when I am 70 right? And I don't mean I want to catch a serious case of pneumonia and potentially die, I mean what if there was a way to catch a strain of the common cold every now and then deliberately.

Comment author: Furcas 29 July 2014 03:31:58AM 5 points [-]

In his latest newsletter Louie Helm advises taking "activated" vitamin D in the form of Calcitriol or Paricalcitol, to raise one's Klotho levels, which is likely to increase one's IQ and longevity if you don't already have the gene for it. Since Calcitriol and Paricalcitol aren't over-the-counter, what would be the best way to acquire some?


Comment author: niceguyanon 29 July 2014 05:26:48PM 3 points [-]

Check the comments near the bottom. Not the pet pharmacy link.

Comment author: ChristianKl 29 July 2014 03:35:50PM 3 points [-]

Its safety track record seems to be intact.

I'm not sure that they did run sufficient experiments to demonstrate safety.

Comment author: niceguyanon 29 July 2014 04:35:45PM 3 points [-]

I'll admit that the basis for my statement is from the seemingly lack of much negative user reports or studies that reported high negative reactions regarding safety, rather than experiments specifically demonstrating safety.

Comment author: niceguyanon 29 July 2014 03:31:58PM 7 points [-]

A quick search for tDCS did not turn up any major discussion newer than 2012 on LW. tDCS devices are now sub $100. Its safety track record seems to be intact. I bought one. There are places to discuss tDCS like on subreddits but I'd like to restart the conversation here with you rationalists.

Recently Radiolab did a piece about it

Comment author: lirene 12 June 2014 02:53:47PM 6 points [-]

I'd like to pitch the identity angle, which worked for me very well (your mileage may vary, of course). I ate very little processed sugar foods (chocolate, cookies, etc) at various points in my life due to what I saw myself as:

  • "I'm not the kind of person who eats processed foods, because processed foods are yucky" is part of our family lore and works to this day
  • "I'm not the kind of person to waste money on things like cookies if I can make them myself for less" arose during a low-income but savvy time. It works because when you bake cookies/cakes yourself you're free to use much less sugar.
  • "I'm the kind of person who enjoys simple foods/Sugary foods are an indulgence, so of course I don't eat a lot of them", my current one.
  • "I can get addicted to substances very easily, so better not overdo it" (also works for alcohol)
  • "I'm the kind of person who doesn't snack between meals, because it's uncultured" - trying to incorporate into my identity at the moment.

Once something is part of your identity, following it becomes a joyful, self-affirming activity rather than a willpower drain.

I also found that when I'm eating common supermarket sweets, I eat a lot because I try to satisfy a craving for flavour that these foods lack. If I substitute them with home-baked flavourful cakes or good chocolate, I tend to eat much less, since my craving is satisfied with the first bite. I'm not sure how making a calorie-rich food (that you don't eat a lot of) flavourful influences your body fat setpoint though (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.jp/2011/04/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity.html).

Comment author: niceguyanon 13 June 2014 04:29:48PM *  2 points [-]

I have a reputation for not liking sugar and thinking that most desserts are too sweet. The degree that I would have disliked sugar, sans my reputation for disliking it, has become blurry. Not sure where other people's expectations of me stop and my own preferences begin.

I also find the response from others, is generally more positive in their opinion on why you are refraining from sweets, if it is because you don't like it. There is something about people that likes to tempt others in to failure, and not maliciously. For example, if someone is having a cookie and someone else is in the room who also likes to eat cookies, but is controlling their impulses, you will might hear "come on just have one with me" or even guilting them or mock their diet. No one does this to me because they know me as a person who does not like sugar.

View more: Next