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Comment author: agrajag 14 November 2011 10:24:26AM 5 points [-]

Getting this point across is difficult, and it's a common problem. For example, I'm from Norway and favor the system we have here with comparatively high taxes on the high earners, and high benefits. When I discuss economics with people from other political systems, say Americans, invariably I get a version of the same:

If I'm happy to pay higher taxes, then I can do that in USA too -- I can just donate to charities of my choice. As an added bonus, this would let me pick which charities I care most about.

The problem is the same as the polluting though: By donating to charities, I reduce the need for government-intervention, which again reduces the need for taxes, which mostly benefit those people paying most taxes.

That is, by donating to charities, I reward those people who earn well and (imho) "should" contribute more to society (by donating themselves) but don't.

So that situation is unstable: The higher the fraction of needed-support is paid for trough charitable giving, the larger is the reward for not giving.

Comment author: phob 20 December 2013 09:37:24PM 0 points [-]

This is a really good point. On the other hand, it is a more convincing argument for stronger interventionist policy than it is against charity.

Comment author: Lumifer 20 December 2013 08:56:45PM 0 points [-]

studies have shown that having children does not on average result in higher hedonic happiness

I am not average person, you don't look to be one either.

having a sense of meaning is not the same as doing reasonably well at improving the world in the ways you care about.

Well, again, it depends. For some people "meaningful life" has nothing to do with improving the world. And if your idea of meaningful life is improving the world, I don't see how you can have a sense of meaning and at the same time be aware that you're not "doing reasonably well".

Comment author: phob 20 December 2013 09:23:56PM *  0 points [-]

I am not average person, you don't look to be one either.

Fair enough, but I still don't think I am very good at predicting whether I'll be happier with children. I also doubt that other people who do think they will be happier are very accurate. Humans are notoriously bad at determining what will make them happy/unhappy. I'm thinking in particular about the study about lottery winners vs. amputee victim from Dan Gilbert's TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html.

if your idea of meaningful life is improving the world, I don't see how you can have a sense of meaning and at the same time be aware that you're not "doing reasonably well".

Society as a whole regards having children as profoundly selfless, rather than selfish, so I think I am fair in concluding that some of the sense of meaning that people get from having children is related to improving the world for future generations. That particular self-satisfaction might not be disturbed by Rachaels' argument if one does not take moral arguments seriously.

Comment author: Lumifer 03 December 2013 06:39:38PM 0 points [-]

But children do not increase hedonic happiness; they increase your sense of living a meaningful life.

I think both of your statements are true for some people and not true for others. They are not general rules.

To maximize the actual meaning of your life

What is the actual meaning of my life?

Comment author: phob 20 December 2013 08:47:56PM *  0 points [-]

There is variance in happiness, yes, but studies have shown that having children does not on average result in higher hedonic happiness, although it does increase a sense of living a meaningful life. If you doubt this, I can dig up the reference; I think it was actually referred to in the Rachaels paper. I said "certainly not", but that wasn't meant to be taken literally; of course it's not certain that you'll be equally or less happy with children.

I think I didn't word the second sentence correctly. I was trying to make the point that having a sense of meaning is not the same as doing reasonably well at improving the world in the ways you care about.

If you wanted to maximize your sense of meaning, you wouldn't object to being wireheaded in a blissful and maximally meaningful cyber-world. I think it's reasonable to say that most people object to such wireheading because they care about their actual impact on the world. At least, they want to appear as if they do.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Is it immoral to have children?
Comment author: Lumifer 23 October 2013 06:38:30PM 1 point [-]

I do not think that you should decide to have or not have children based on you estimates of the impact on the world.

Comment author: phob 03 December 2013 06:29:02PM 1 point [-]

Certainly not if you're trying to maximize your hedonic happiness. But children do not increase hedonic happiness; they increase your sense of living a meaningful life. To maximize the actual meaning of your life, you must use estimates of the impact of your decisions; whether or not this affects your perceived sense of meaning depends on how seriously you take moral arguments.

Comment author: mtaran 24 February 2011 05:44:34AM 4 points [-]

Being at Harvey Mudd, I'll definitely attend, though I doubt I can help anyone with transportation :)

Comment author: phob 24 February 2011 06:22:18AM 1 point [-]

Ditto

Comment author: [deleted] 10 January 2011 06:45:43PM 1 point [-]

Has anyone gotten the (pricey - $25) Anki iphone app? Does the app still make it easy to look up the Less Wrong deck? Alternately, has someone tried importing the deck into some (cheaper) SRS app?

Comment author: phob 13 January 2011 01:12:49AM 3 points [-]

I have the Anki iphone app. Considering the utility and convenience it provides, the price is negligible. For comparison, at a private college, tuition/# of classes ~= $200 / class, so as I use anki for schoolwork, it easily pays for itself.

If you do any sort of utility calculation for products you use, a lot of times convenience will trump price by orders of magnitude. This is one of those cases.

Comment author: phob 12 January 2011 03:42:30PM 6 points [-]

I made a deck of the list of cognitive biases and list of fallacies from wikipedia.

Anki deck for biases and fallacies

20 phob 12 January 2011 03:34PM

Followup to: Spaced Repetition Database for A Human's Guide to Words

 


 

There's a great list of cognitive biases and fallacies on Wikipedia.  For those who wish to aid their learning with some Anki cards, I've shared a deck.  Just search "biases" in Anki.

For those who use a different program, here are the cards in a tab-separated file.

I'll soon update it to also contain the list of memory biases.

Comment author: shokwave 10 January 2011 07:04:43PM *  8 points [-]

Unconventional decks like having anki cards for a whole piano piece or problem in a textbook might work

I have used Anki for learning bass guitar parts to songs, and I found this method: break a piece up into individual riffs or themes, make flashcards with the "[name of song] [riff or theme sheet music / tablature]". Add in flashcards that use cloze deletion on a list of how the riffs progress (intro -> verse -> ... -> verse -> chorus -> coda, for example, deleting chorus) and you have 10-20 cards, depending on complexity. I also threw in transitional licks appropriate to the song to bump the count up.

When testing yourself with the deck, have your instrument at hand. On riff cards, practice the riff for five minutes, then hit 'again'. Answer the other cards as normal - I originally planned to play the riff that was deleted, but I found it wasn't really necessary. I suggest responding 'again' to each riff card until you can play the riff first try.

The bonus of this method is it works out to ~1 hour of practice of your instrument. I found huge improvements because it ensured 80% of my hour was spent actually learning and improving rather than practicing well-known or ingrained patterns. My recall of songs from name was significantly higher too.

Comment author: phob 10 January 2011 07:14:39PM 0 points [-]

Thank you! I was planning on setting up a system for piano and guitar and I wasn't really sure what would work. This sounds great =]

Comment author: marchdown 10 January 2011 04:42:10PM 1 point [-]

Care to share your experiences with Anki? I'm just starting using it, and I have several qualms and questions. First of all, what is the proper way to select a sub-deck with hard cards and drill through them repeatedly? Second, if you are learning languages, what is your approach to grammatical notes and multiple word forms, and, generally, what do you do when you need to have more that just two pieces of information linked, as it is often the case with irregular verbs? Hope you don't mind my asking.

Comment author: phob 10 January 2011 06:38:41PM *  5 points [-]
  • Normal flashcards should be all equally difficult: as easy as possible. The idea is to break everything down into atomic facts; this makes it so you can't short-circuit a difficult card by just memorizing the answer; by memorizing all the parts, you still have the whole.

  • If you really want to drill one sub-deck, you can choose "cram mode" , and select the tag of the cards you want to review.

  • I don't use anki for languages, but to learn conjugations of verbs, I would have many example sentences with a "... <unconjugated verb>" where the verb should go. You could ask on #anki or the google group. Here's a good article on how to make effective flashcards from the inventor of the spaced repetition algorithm, Piotr Wozniak.

  • Unconventional decks like having anki cards for a whole piano piece or problem in a textbook might work, but I haven't tried them... yet. I'll be experimenting with those this coming semester.

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