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Comment author: Gleb_Tsipursky 08 February 2016 10:51:05PM 0 points [-]

I gotcha, thanks for the feedback!

We have specifically UU-themed content here. For a one-hour session, I suggest using the videotaped workshop. You can have youth take the web app beforehand, watch the video, and then have a discussion, with youth taking the web app afterward.

We're also working on developing other UU-themed curricula for youth-oriented classes and covenant groups.

Hope this is useful for you!

Comment author: pinyaka 22 February 2016 10:22:29PM 1 point [-]

Thanks, Gleb. I will look into this more.

It really seems like you have gone out of your way to not actually share any content until I give you personal information. After looking at a few of your pages I still have no idea what you're offering except that it's something to help people find meaning in their lives using methods that (probably) have one or more scientific study to back them up. This is the kind of sales pitch I usually associate very strongly with scammers. The main differences between the way you look and the way a scammer looks are:

a) I found your recommendations on Less Wrong and you are an academic at an accredited university b) You are charging very little for your material by requiring time watching videos, contact information, or nominal fees (~$2-$3)

If you're open to it, I would suggest writing up a summary or description of what your methods actually are (or if you have such a thing already, prominently link it somewhere). Generally, if you're unwilling to make your methods known to this community it looks like you're not really open to feedback or criticism about them.

Comment author: Gleb_Tsipursky 07 February 2016 03:07:07AM 4 points [-]

For those who disapprove and do/wish to downvote, I'd be curious about your motivations if you're open to sharing them, either in comments or a PM. Looking to improve my postings, and thanks!

Comment author: pinyaka 08 February 2016 10:17:48PM *  2 points [-]

My wife and I are the high school youth leaders at a UU church. Most of our youths are atheists or agnostics. I looked over the page you linked and subsequent pages on the course itself as I am very interested in helping our youths to think more rationally about goals. As the course is outlined now I would not suggest it to our youths because:

a) The course requires a lot of time and there's not enough information about how that time can be broken up. We meet for two hours per week and could maybe spare an hour of that for a program, but it's not clear that it can be broken up like that. Also, there's no way they would agree to do this for 7 weeks anyway. An abbreviated course that involved 2 or 3 1 hour sessions with maybe 20-30 minutes of homework in between sessions would be more realistic for our group. Most of our youths are very competitive academically and do not have lots of spare time to do stuff.

b) I have no idea what you're suggesting the youths should be taught because all the actual content is hidden behind the registration. Given that I see no way to get the youths to agree to the course (because of the time thing above), I am not inclined to hand over personal information to get details about the courses actual content.

I hope this helps.

Comment author: Epictetus 10 February 2015 11:23:20AM *  12 points [-]

I suppose I can think up a few tomes of eldritch lore that I have found useful (college math specifically):


Recommendation: Differential and Integral Calculus

Author: Richard Courant


Stewart, Calculus: Early Transcendentals: This is a fairly standard textbook for freshman calculus. Mediocre overall.

Morris Kline, Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach: Great book. As advertised, focuses on building intuition. Provides a lot of examples that aren't the usual contrived "applications". This would work well as a companion piece to the recommended text.

Courant, Differential and Integral Calculus (two volumes): One of the few math textbooks that manages to properly explain and motivate things and be rigorous at the same time. You'll find loads of actual applications. There are plenty of side topics for the curious as well as appendices that expand on certain theoretical points. It's quite rigorous, so a companion text might be useful for some readers. There's an updated version edited by Fritz John (Introduction to Calculus and Analysis), but I am unfamiliar with it.

Linear Algebra:

Recommended Text: Linear Algebra

Author: Georgi Shilov


David Lay, Linear Algebra and its Applications: Used this in my undergraduate class. Okay introduction that covers the usual topics.

Sheldon Axler, Linear Algebra Done Right: Ambitious title. The book develops linear algebra in a clean, elegant, and determinant-free way (avoiding determinants is the "done right" bit, though they are introduced in the last chapter). It does prove to be a drawback, as determinants are a useful tool if not abused. This book is also a bit abstract and is intended for students who have already studied linear algebra.

Georgi Shilov, Linear Algebra: No-nonsense Russian textbook. Explanations are clear and everything is done with full rigor. This is the book I used when I wanted to understand linear algebra and it delivered.

Horn and Johnson, Matrix Analysis: I'm putting this in for completion purposes. It's a truly stellar book that will teach you almost everything you wanted to know about matrices. The only reason I don't have this as the recommendation is that it's rather advanced and ill-suited for someone new to the subject.

Numerical Methods

Recommendation: Numerical Recipes: The Art of Scientific Computing

Author: Press, Teukolsky, Vetterling, Flannery


Bulirsch and Stoer, Introduction to Numerical Analysis: German rigor. Thorough and thoroughly terse, this is one of those good textbooks that only a sadist would recommend to a beginner.

Kendall Atkinson, An Introduction to Numerical Analysis: Rigorous treatment of numerical analysis. It covers the main topics and is far more accessible than the text by Bulirsch and Stoer.

Press, Teukolsky, Vetterling, Flannery, Numerical Recipes: The Art of Scientific Computing: Covers just about every numerical method outside of PDE solvers (though this is touched on). Provides source code implementing just about all the methods covered and includes plenty of tips and guidelines for choosing the appropriate method and implementing it. THE book for people with a practical bent. I would recommend using the text by Atkinson or Bulirsch and Stoer to brush up on the theory, however.

Richard Hamming, Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers: How can I fail to mention a book written by a master of the craft? This book is probably the best at communicating the "feel" of numerical analysis. Hamming begins with an essay on the principles of numerical analysis and the presentations in the rest of the book go beyond the formulas. I docked points for its age and more limited scope.

Ordinary Differential Equations

Recommended: Ordinary Differential Equations

Author: Vladimir Arnold


Coddington, An Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations: Solid intro from the author of one of the texts in the field. Definite theoretical bent that doesn't really touch on applications.

Tenenbaum and Pollard, Ordinary Differential Equations: This book manages to be both elementary and comprehensive. Extremely well-written and divides the material into a series of manageable "Lessons". Covers lots and lots of techniques that you might not find elsewhere and gives plenty of applications.

Vladimir Arnold, Ordinary Differential Equations: Great text with a strong geometric bent. The language of flows and phase spaces is introduced early on, which becomes relevant as the book ends with a treatment of differential equations on manifolds. Explanations are clear and Arnold avoids a lot of the pedantry that would otherwise preclude this kind of treatment (although it requires more out of the reader). It's probably the best book I've seen for intuition on the subject and that's why I recommend it. Use Tenenbaum and Pollard as a companion if you want to see more solution methods.

Abstract Algebra:

Note: I am mainly familiar with graduate texts, so be warned that these books are not beginner-friendly.

Recommended: Basic Algebra

Author: Nathan Jacobson


Bourbaki, Algebra: The French Bourbaki tradition in all its glory. Shamelessly general and unmotivated, this is not for the faint of heart. The drawback is its age, as there is no treatment of category theory.

Lang, Algebra: Lang was once a member of the aforementioned Bourbaki. In usual Serge Lang style, this is a tough, rigorous book that has no qualms with doing things in full generality. The language of category theory is introduced early and heavily utilized. Great for the budding algebraist.

Hungerford, Algebra: Less comprehensive, but more accessible than Lang's book. It's a good choice for someone who wants to learn the subject without having to grapple with Lang.

Jacobson, Basic Algebra (2 volumes): Note that the "Basic" in the title means "so easy, a first-year grad student can understand it". Mathematicians are a strange folk, but I digress. It's comprehensive, well-organized, and explains things clearly. I'd recommend it as being easier than Bourbaki and Lang yet more comprehensive and a better reference than Hungerford.

Elementary Real Analysis:

"Elementary" here means that it doesn't emphasize Lebesgue integration or functional analysis

Recommended: Principles of Mathematical Analysis

Author: Walter Rudin


Rudin, Principles of Mathematical Analysis: Infamously terse. Rudin likes to do things in the greatest generality and the proofs tend to be slick (i.e. rely on clever arguments that don't really clarify the thing being proved). It's thorough, it's rigorous, and the exercises tend to be difficult. You won't find any straightforward definition-pushing here. If you had a rigorous calculus course (like Courant's book), you should be fine.

Kenneth Ross, Elementary Analysis: The Theory of Calculus: I'd put this book as a gap-filler. It doesn't go into topology and is rather straightforward. If you learned the "cookbook" approach to calculus, you'll probably benefit from this book. If your calculus class was rigorous, I'd skip it.

Serge Lang, Undergraduate Analysis: It's a Serge Lang book. Contrary to the title, I don't think I'd recommend it for undergraduates.

G.H. Hardy, A Course of Pure Mathematics: Classic text. Hardy was a first-rate mathematician and it shows. The downside is that the book is over 100 years old and there are a few relevant topics that came out in the intervening years.

Comment author: pinyaka 28 July 2015 08:01:42PM 0 points [-]

I purchased Shilov's Linear Algebra and put it on my bookshelf. When I actually needed to use it to refresh myself on how to get eigenvalues and eigenvectors I found all the references to preceding sections and choppy lemma->proof style writing to be very difficult to parse. This might be great if you actually work your way through the book, but I didn't find it useful as a refresher text.

Instead, I found Gilbert Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra to be more useful. It's not as thorough as Shilov's text, but seems to cover topics fairly thoroughly and each section seems to be relatively self contained so that if there's a section that covers what you want to refresh your self on, it'll be relatively self contained.

Comment author: Salemicus 14 May 2015 01:28:13PM 0 points [-]

People solve this problem by making bigger and bigger signals at each other, until either one side stops making the bigger signals or until the signals are so big you can't ignore them, (also known as "flirting").

Unfortunately there is the common failure mode where Alex keeps making bigger and bigger signals, while Billy makes no signals at all, but A interprets everything B does as maybe some kind of signal. So this method still relies on being able to tell, at least to some extent.

If you aren't good at reading other people's signals, then the following heuristic is a pretty good one:

  • If you like A, and you are wondering whether A likes you, the answer is no.
  • If you don't like A, and you are wondering whether A likes you, the answer is yes.
Comment author: pinyaka 14 May 2015 06:22:43PM 2 points [-]

If you aren't good at reading other people's signals, then the following heuristic is a pretty good one: If you like A, and you are wondering whether A likes you, the answer is no.

This heuristic is terrible if you're trying to find a romantic partner since following it consistently will always lead you to believe that the people you're interested in and whose reciprocal interest isn't clear to you are not interested in you. If you live in a society where your potential partner isn't supposed to make overt signals about their romantic interests (because of gender roles or something), this may result in never finding a partner.

Also, suggesting that people who "aren't good at reading other people's signals" should condition anything based on the presence of uncertainty about reciprocal interest seems like it'll produce inconsistent results at best. In this case, I think they should take the potential failure mode and increase signaling until A (or a trusted friend) gives a unambiguous signal.

Comment author: WalterL 19 March 2015 02:44:07PM 1 point [-]

Well, that's horrific.

Comment author: pinyaka 19 March 2015 03:31:26PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: pinyaka 16 March 2015 07:37:59PM 1 point [-]

Mixing the high glycemic load foods with the low glycemic load foods will result in a lower peak insulin concentration than if you ate them separately.

Also, millet has a slightly higher glycemic load (12/100g) compared to quinoa (10/100g), but has almost the same calories (~120) and is usually significantly cheaper (in my area, it's about a third the cost when purchased in bulk). It's probably comparable to the basmati brown (which I don't like the taste of).

Comment author: [deleted] 16 March 2015 09:04:42AM *  3 points [-]

Go for insulin index not glycemic index: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin_index

I am confused - if you have willpower issues, why do you want high-calorie food. Stuffing yourself on them until you feel full or at any rate until the pleasure of eating is maximally satisfied will lead to over-maintenance calories.

Maybe you should be looking to high-satiety, not high-calorie?

Top 20 sorted for satiety/insulin ratio: http://i.imgur.com/q52ddwv.png

I have found the following about myself:

1) I never feel full on meat + vegs, but adding a bit of bread does the job. Conversely, I never feel full on bread or rice or generally carbs only, adding a bit of meat does the job. It seems I need the combination.

2) interestingly, the kind of thick pea soup with some meat + bread logic of homeless soup-kitchens is actually working. Apparently, when grease is diluted with hot water in a soup, and some bread is added, it works for satiety.

1+2) it seems my body wants at least a bit of carb high and a coating of grease on the inside of the stomach, even if diluted

  • despite the study, I still get my carbs from wholemeal rye bread (rank 14 here), as sandwiches are easier than pasta and I need fiber due to gut issues

  • the easy fast work lunch for me, from grocery store ingredients bought near work (hate packing it from home) is rye wholemeal bread and salmon 50g package

Does anyone have an idea what is brown pasta? Wholemeal? Rye? Pasta colored brown with food coloring (don't laugh, they do shit like this to trick the gullible).

Comment author: pinyaka 16 March 2015 07:27:42PM 2 points [-]

I never feel full on meat + vegs, but adding a bit of bread does the job. Conversely, I never feel full on bread or rice or generally carbs only, adding a bit of meat does the job. It seems I need the combination.

My subjective experience is that starting a meal with a small amount of insulin spiking carbohydrate and then moving on to protein and fat results in feeling full faster than starting with the protein/fat and moving on to the carbs. I generally have a rule about portioning my food out at the beginning of the meal and not going back for more until 20 minutes after I finish the first portions. Usually this prevents me from overeating, although eating imbalanced meals almost always leaves me hungry long enough to get second helpings.

Comment author: iarwain1 13 March 2015 04:57:33PM *  10 points [-]

we'll try fix them

I think you meant "try to fix them" :)

Comment author: pinyaka 13 March 2015 05:14:42PM 24 points [-]

You should send that to errata@intelligence.org.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 06 March 2015 10:11:52AM 0 points [-]

Seriously - ginger ale, lemon-lime or orange soda, etc.

That can make it hard to tell thirst from sugar cravings, though.

Comment author: pinyaka 06 March 2015 03:27:09PM 0 points [-]

True enough. Tea or water would definitely be better choices.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 March 2015 09:10:56AM 1 point [-]

Thanks, it is good ideas. I got two different kinds of de-training completely mixed up.

I decided that if you want to understand yourself you may start first studying others, because you will be more honest and less likely to find excuses, and then applying the lesson to yourself (not allowing new excuses). That is a good idea?

I studied my late father and current father-in-law both classical blue-collar guys with classical blue-collar vices i.e. drinking more than healthy and probably being addicted (no textbook alcoholics: they were/are never actually drunk, just elevated "bubbly" every evening).

One thing I have noticed is that the basic idea is that you don't enjoy your work and life much. And when the daily work is done you need a quick pick me up, something that quickly makes you feel good, for the blue-collar culture it is booze, for others, it is sugar (contributing to the obesity epidemic), drugs or gambling. They all act fast.

Apparently, one reason more intellectual people (typical Silicon Valley types) have less of an addiction problem is that they enjoy their work and thus life enough, they don't need to quickly wash down another suck of a day, so they can have less euphoric hobbies in the evening, say, drawing or painting.

I am fairly intellectual but for reasons I don't think I will ever have a very enjoyable job or life. It is mainly a must-do tasks to stay afloat kind of life. So I need to see how to cope better.

A) I started studying what healthy "quickly pick me up" other people are using. I found music and socialization. I.e. they put on headphones when riding the subway or Facebook chat with their friends. Neither is to my taste or possibilities. Any other ideas? I.e. not the kinds of enjoyable activities that take investment, but the kinds that are easy as downing a drink or three, calling someone on the phone or putting on music. But it has to be a strong jolt, I am very easily bored. For example something like playing Settlers of Catan on an Android tablet (against AI) bores me out in 15 mins even though is one of the most popular board games.

B) Is it possible to just to learn to put up with it all? For example 2-3 generations ago British upper classes were very good at putting up with boredom. They could spend an afternoon just reading Times. It is not exciting at all. Even Carcassone on Android is more exciting. What and how made these people so good at putting up with nothing enjoyable and fun, no jolt, no pleasure shock happening?

Am I even on the right track here?

Counter-test: what do today smart people (who know unhealthy habits are unhealthy) do if their work/life is generally unpleasant, so they need a quick jolt of pleasure injected into themselves after work? Again I am not talking about hobbies one invest into, I am talking about something one may as well do on the subway back home. Well, I know one physcist doing some kind of a PhD internship where he analyses nuclear data all day writing C++ programs (don't even ask...) and he hates it, and he is a drinker. That is not a good example.

Is it possible to rank or categorize hobbies, interests, free time activities by factors like time investment, quick jolt vs. more slow pleasure and so on? E.g. parachuting or bungee jumping does give a quick jolt, one very similar to drugs, they are very good at washing down an unpleasant workday, but they require investment in the sense of going/driving there, going up etc. people who do it normally just do it on the weekend. They are clearly not something to quickly do on the subway on the way home. Music, as long as people can find one they really like, can work as press a button, get an instant jolt of pleasure. Hobbies like painting or drawing generally don't give this kind of euphoric jolt at all. I wonder if such an avenue of research is a good idea.

About my at-work brain: not until about 4PM, however, I am not very thirsty before that, it is the usually quite salty lunch (like street döner kebab) eaten around 1PM that generates it. I drink a lot of water but mainly as routine.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Stupid Questions March 2015
Comment author: pinyaka 06 March 2015 03:25:48PM 0 points [-]

Apparently, one reason more intellectual people (typical Silicon Valley types) have less of an addiction problem is that they enjoy their work and thus life enough, they don't need to quickly wash down another suck of a day, so they can have less euphoric hobbies in the evening, say, drawing or painting.

I don't think this is exactly right. There is a correlation between intelligence and addiction, but it's not so strong that you won't still find a lot of addicts among the intelligentsia. Chemical addiction is a process whereby you ingest chemicals to stimulate your reward center. Smarter people who are wired in such a way that they can get the same jolt of reward-juice from working hard or whatever may be able to substitute that behavior as their trigger rather than a chemical like alcohol, but it doesn't mean it's not caused by the same kind of chemical deficiency. Also, as pure anecdota, I believe there is a probably a largely unmapped dependence on illegal stimulants (like ADD meds, not cocaine) in cultures like those found in Silicon Valley. I am currently a graduate student in Chemistry and have noticed a large percentage of my fellow students use such stimulants citing their performance enhancing properties despite evidence that such drugs decrease performance for neuro-typicals.

With regard to points A) and B)

A) There's no non-chemical boost that I can think of that will match the chemical boost. If you're into games on your phone, Minecraft PE is pretty open ended and may provide some of the stimulation you're seeking, but it sounds like you'd like a substitute for whatever fix addiction provides and if there's something like that it may be dependent on your neuro-chemistry. Common substitutes (according to google) include overeating, exercise, and burying yourself with work.

B) Whether it's possible to just get used to not having that stimulation may also be dependent on your neuro-chemistry. I have done it and I know several other people who have done it, but I've also met quite a few who haven't been able to do it. I don't know of a foolproof method to stop an addiction.

You're saying that you want quick jolts that don't require an investment. I don't have any good ideas for that. Learning to meditate seems to help reduce the importance attached to cravings for some people. Exercise certainly triggers a lot of the same pleasure and reward chemicals. You can also read through the some of the relevant material here on LW (How to be happy(short), Be Happier(longer)). The long term effects of addiction are usually pretty bad, so I'd say it's worth making the investment, but it's a lot easier to say that than to do it.

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