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Comment author: MinibearRex 23 December 2011 06:27:44AM 2 points [-]

I don't really know. I just really liked that song. It seems particularly "catchy" to me, although that doesn't seem to be a common reaction. I have asked other people if they had a similar reaction to God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, or any other Christmas carol, and found nobody that was particularly attached to that particular song, but a substantial number that were attached to some other carol.

Comment author: persephonehazard 28 December 2011 02:22:24PM 0 points [-]

It's not just you; I have always really liked the feel of the melody in /God Rest/.

Comment author: Desrtopa 08 June 2011 04:11:40PM 1 point [-]

It could be a case of discalculia.

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 05:01:16PM *  1 point [-]

That's certainly entirely plausible, and something my mother (a primary school teacher of a quarter-century's experience, who's known a lot of children well) has always suspected. I've never had it checked out, though. Maybe I should.

ETA - particularly as I've just had a look at the wikipedia article and every single thing in the symptoms list applies to me to some degree. I'm even a pretty good writer. Good grief.

Comment author: ciphergoth 08 June 2011 02:55:49PM 1 point [-]

This all sounds less like a lack of innate ability and more like a barrier of fear. Not to say that can't be just as disabling.

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 05:00:24PM 1 point [-]

Certainly some of it is. The anxiety and fluster and horrible panic feeling is certainly emotional, and the "number blindness" thing is probably related too. It's much, much worse if there's anyone else around - the only thing more embarrassing than knowing I've failed simple arithmetic is failing simple arithmetic when other people who might assume I'm moronically stupid can see me doing it.

And of course that makes me a nightmare to teach, because I'm horribly resistant to learning maths because I know I'll fail and look stupid and whoever it is will think I'm thick. You of all people have encountered that in me!

Struggling to parse strings of numbers, though, can happen no matter how calm and unpressured and private I am. I've emailed myself things like my debit card number so that I can just cut and paste them when I buy things, because I can't always reliably type them in by looking at the card.

In response to Action and habit
Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 04:13:22PM 1 point [-]

I'm pretty sure, come to think of it, that everything I've ever trained myself to do or be has been as a result of "I am the kind of person who" thinking. I suspect that it would be a lot harder to do that consciously with any real effect, but it's an interesting thought!

Maybe "I am the kind of person who can resist those crisps" would work with enough application. Maybe...

Comment author: David_Gerard 08 June 2011 10:13:16AM *  0 points [-]

A lot of it is due to education, a difference of interest, and a little more ease when it comes to symbol manipulation [...] but little has to do with insurmountable hardware limitations.

I wonder if that makes a difference in practical terms. There's all sorts of potential in one's genes, but one has the body, brain and personal history one ends up with.

What I mean is no longer feeling like the smartest person in the room and quite definitely having to put in effort to keep up.

I haven't heard of any evidence that would suggest that there are human beings who can't understand linear algebra.

I first encountered humans who couldn't understand basic arithmetic at university, in the bit of first-year psychology where they try to bludgeon basic statistics into people's heads. People who were clearly intelligent in other regards and not failures at life, who nevertheless literally had trouble adding two numbers with a result in the thirties. I'm still boggling 25 years later, but I was there and saw it ...

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 02:35:38PM 1 point [-]

I first encountered humans who couldn't understand basic arithmetic at university, in the bit of first-year psychology where they try to bludgeon basic statistics into people's > heads. People who were clearly intelligent in other regards and not failures at life, who > nevertheless literally had trouble adding two numbers with a result in the thirties. I'm still boggling 25 years later, but I was there and saw it ...

See above, but I am basically one of those people. My own intelligence lies in other areas ;-)

Comment author: XiXiDu 08 June 2011 10:03:41AM *  1 point [-]

...smarter than me...

I think this is a largely overestimated concept, especially on LW. I doubt most people here are "smarter" than average Joe. A lot of it is due to education, a difference of interest, and a little more ease when it comes to symbol manipulation. Surely there are many more factors, like the ability to concentrate, not getting bored too quickly, being told as a child that one can learn anything if one tries hard enough etc., but little has to do with insurmountable hardware limitations.

Eliezer Yudkowsky recently wrote:

You know how there are people who, even though you could train them to carry out the steps of a Universal Turing Machine, you can't manage to teach them linear algebra...

I haven't heard of any evidence that would suggest that there are human beings who can't understand linear algebra. I myself have not yet arrived at linear algebra, because I didn't bother to learn any math when I was a teenager, but I doubt that it is something only superhuman beings can understand. I would go as far as to bet that you could teach it to someone with down syndrome.

Take for example the number 3^^^^3. Can I hold a model of 3^^^^3 objects in my memory? No. Can I visualize 3^^^^3? No. Does that mean that I am unable to fathom some of its important properties, e.g. its scope? No.

Someone who has no legs can't run faster than you. Similar differences are true about different brains, but we don't know enough about brains, or what it means to understand linear algebra, to indiscriminately claim that someone is "smarter"...

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 02:32:41PM 4 points [-]

I'm not convinced anybody could teach me to understand linear algebra. Or maybe what I mean by that is that I'm not convinced of my own ability to understand linear algebra, which may be a different thing.

I have trouble with maths. More specifically, I have trouble with numbers. What I experience when faced with lots of numbers is akin to how people with dyslexia often describe trying to parse lots of written text - they swim and shift beneath my eyes, and dissolve into a mass of meaningless gobbledegook that I can't pick any sense from. And then after a while, even if I've ploughed through some of this, I start to get what I can only describe as "number fatigue" and things that previously I'd almost started to comprehend seem to slip out from my grasp.

And, when asked to do simple maths, I panic and fly into what is pretty much an anxiety attack. Which, of course, means that I'm not thinking clearly enough to untangle it all and try to start making sense of it.

Maths feels utterly, utterly impenetrable to me. Half the time I can't even work out what the necessary sum is - recent examples include my having no notion of the calculations required for aspect ratio or 10% of a weight in stones and pounds, but this also applies to much simpler things, like the time I couldn't figure out how to calculate the potential eventual fundraising total from the time elapsed, the time remaining and the money so far achieved.

I realise that in a community like this I'm going to stick out like a sore thumb, mind you ;-)

Comment author: handoflixue 08 June 2011 03:49:34AM 0 points [-]

Given the current state of mental health support, at least in the US, I consider them a useful tool for some people to self-medicate. Fun is also a nice perk :)

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 02:08:22PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, that's definitely true. And also, of course, cannabis is a marvelous painkiller.

Comment author: Desrtopa 08 June 2011 02:39:19AM 0 points [-]

Provided there's nothing else to counterbalance it, but if what drugs provide is only fun, then arguing for them on any grounds other than fun is disingenuous.

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 02:59:36AM 1 point [-]

Yes, that's very true.

I have found, in my personal and not at all even a little bit scientific personal experience, that altered states can be very good indeed for what people who write (I don't paint or practice higher mathematics or any of the other relevant things, so I shan't presume to comment on them) call the creative process. But then, maybe this isn't the right place for talking about The Creative Process, which I suppose is a nebulous and rather wanky sort of a term even if it is something very dear to my heart.

Comment author: Alicorn 07 June 2011 10:43:55PM 0 points [-]

Yes. Absolutely. Almost /everyone/ lies to complete strangers sometimes. Who among us has never given an enhanced and glamourfied story about who they are to a stranger they struck up a conversation with on a train?

Never? Really? Not even /once/?

If everyone regularly talked to strangers on trains, and exactly once lied to such a stranger, it would still be pretty safe to assume that any given train-stranger is being honest with you.

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 02:55:40AM 1 point [-]

Actually, yes, you're entirely right.

In conversations I've had about this with friends - good grief, there's a giant flashing anecdata alert if ever I did see one, but it's the best we've got to go off here - I would suspect that people do it often enough that it's a reasonable thing to consider in a situation like the one being discussed here, though.

Not that I think it's a bad thing that the person in question didn't, mind you. It would be a very easy option not to consider.

Comment author: [deleted] 24 April 2011 07:40:26PM *  3 points [-]

Interesting article, I will need to think quite thoroughly about this for some time. In the meantime I hope I can bothered you with a quick question:

What is your gender?

This might seem irrelevant, silly (as perhaps it is easy to deduce from your handle for someone of a different background that me or because you mentioned it in some other post I haven't read) or even offensive (it is certainly not meant that way), but I assure you that this is simply because I want to understand you better (in order to get part 1 to 3 right). It may seem not much can be derived from such information when dealing with unorthodox cognitive spaces or exploring the perspective of those who are neurodiverse in relation to me (and this post is arguably as much about the latter as the former), but every little bit helps me shift my estimation of the odds to where they should be. Actually on second thought I think simply the differential demographics of different kinds of neurodiversity and their interaction with society means gender is hugely important.

Comment author: persephonehazard 08 June 2011 02:34:05AM 1 point [-]

This is off-topic, for which I apologise, but I now find myself fascinated by the various ways in which gender is communicated. It seemed really very obvious indeed to me that Skatche was male; so much so I was vaguely susprised that the question had been asked.

I think it's a combination of the split of experiences, different writing styles (men /do/ write differently than women) and LW being a very male-dominated environment.

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