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Comment author: cata 05 June 2012 04:35:25AM 2 points [-]

I managed to unintentionally do something valuable -- I arranged to carpool with some coworkers, forcing me to get up at about 8:45 every day, instead of sleeping in and working later, as I could do. What I really need to do, though, is train myself to go to sleep closer to midnight than 2 AM; I know it makes me happier the next day, it's just hard to stop reading or doing stuff. I've never in my life been able to stop staying up so late.

No concrete plan on that one yet, I'm consuming plenty of my willpower with other things. Just pontificating.

Comment author: wilkox 05 June 2012 09:52:39AM 2 points [-]

Have you considered melatonin? Quoting gwern:

Melatonin allows us a different way of raising the cost, a physiological & self-enforcing way. Half an hour before we plan to go to sleep, we take a pill. The procrastinating effect will not work - half an hour is so far away that our decision-making process & willpower are undistorted and can make the right decision (viz. following the schedule). When the half-hour is up, the melatonin has begun to make us sleepy. Staying awake ceases to be free, to be the default option; now it is costly to fight the melatonin and remain awake.

I use it for exactly this reason and it works brilliantly.

Comment author: Ghatanathoah 10 May 2012 05:40:35AM 20 points [-]

Yes, you probably think you care about believing truth – but isn’t it more plausible that you mainly care about thinking you like truth? Doesn’t that have a more plausible evolutionary origin than actually caring about far truth?

Imagine I told Robin Hanson I liked the way chocolate tastes. Do you think he'd reply: "Yes, you probably think you like the taste of chocolate – but isn’t it more plausible that you mainly care about eating calorically dense foods so you can store up fat for the winter? Doesn’t that have a more plausible evolutionary origin than actually caring about the taste of chocolate?" Of course not, because that would sound silly. It's only for abstract intellectual desires that someone can get away with a statement like that.

If evolution "wants" you to eat calorically dense foods it doesn't make you actually want calories, it just makes you like the way the foods taste. And if evolution "wants" you to appear to care about truth to impress people the most efficient way for it to accomplish that is to make you actually care about the truth. That way you don't have to keep your lies straight. People don't think they care about the truth, they actually do.

I know that that's Hanson's quote, not yours, but the fact that you quote it indicates you agree with it to some extent.

Comment author: wilkox 10 May 2012 07:51:39AM 10 points [-]

This is like saying "if evolution wants a frog to appear poisonous, the most efficient way to accomplish that is to actually make it poisonous". Evolution has a long history of faking signals when it can get away with it. If evolution "wants" you to signal that you care about the truth, it will do so by causing you to actually care about the truth if and only if causing you to actually care about the truth has a lower fitness cost than the array of other potential dishonest signals on offer.

Comment author: jumandtonic 26 April 2012 03:41:38AM 7 points [-]

I enjoy meditation, especially group meditation. It calms me down and helps me stay a bit more focused. I just want to do without the new age hippy bullshit. My eyes start to glaze over when people start to talk about God, chakras, and auras.

Comment author: wilkox 26 April 2012 04:25:51AM 10 points [-]

I've noticed many people who practise meditation have a strong belief in meditation and the more 'rational' core of Buddhist practices, but only belief in belief about the new age-y aspects. My meditation teacher, for example, consistently prefaces the new age stuff with "in Buddhist teachings" or "Buddhists believe" ("Buddhists believe we will be reincarnated") while making other claims as simple statements of fact ("mindfulness meditation is a useful relaxation technique").

In response to comment by wilkox on 9/11 as mindkiller
Comment author: pedanterrific 13 September 2011 12:21:22AM 3 points [-]

I'm not sure if this is really the way upvotes are supposed to be used, but I voted you up from -1 because I don't think "Can you explain why?" is a question that should be censured.

Comment author: wilkox 13 September 2011 10:56:28PM 1 point [-]

I appreciate this. I genuinely didn't (still don't ) understand what lessdazed was trying to say, and it would be a really bad thing if downvoting ignorance became common practice.

In response to comment by JoshuaZ on 9/11 as mindkiller
Comment author: lessdazed 12 September 2011 09:54:50PM 6 points [-]

all sorts of science that isn't getting funded

It's important to avoid the if-not-for-the-worst-waste-of-money-in-the-budget-the-most-worthy-unfunded-program-would-have-been-funded argument.

Comment author: wilkox 13 September 2011 12:04:43AM 3 points [-]

It's important to avoid the if-not-for-the-worst-waste-of-money-in-the-budget-the-most-worthy-unfunded-program-would-have-been-funded argument.

Can you explain why? This seems like a perfectly normal and reasonable sort of argument about dividing a limited pool of resources wisely.

Comment author: [deleted] 21 August 2011 10:04:58PM *  2 points [-]

Public user karma graphs for users as well as posts seem an interesting if slightly cluttering user interface addition [a neat little graph icon next to the quote bubbles and the chain link], that might help combat this while having the neat benefit of making it easier to infer all sorts of things.

Comment author: wilkox 21 August 2011 11:09:37PM 2 points [-]

Perhaps sparklines would work for this. They compress the recent history of a measurement in a space-efficient way which can fit inline with text.

Comment author: wilkox 09 August 2011 11:09:47PM 8 points [-]

This sounds a lot like the Scouting merit system, in a good way. I learned more life skills from Scouts then I ever did from public education.

Comment author: CharlesR 07 July 2011 08:37:18PM 1 point [-]

I was prepared to let him walk. He really had offended us.

Comment author: wilkox 07 July 2011 11:44:41PM 3 points [-]

This doesn't seem to be an answer to Wei Dai's question.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 July 2011 01:01:54AM 13 points [-]

If you've already pointed them to Three Worlds and HPMR and they are interested, they will likely start poking around themselves. So, unless they've asked specifically for suggestions, it isn't clear to me that such suggestions are a good idea.

Assuming they have shown that they are amenable to such suggestions, one slightly Dark Artish but potentially useful idea is to send them first to things they are more likely to agree with. So for example, if they are an agnostic or atheist, sending them to the religion related posts (like the Mysterious Answers sequence) will get them more likely to feel that the website is worth reading. This is because they will be exposed to a combination of arguments they've seen versions of before and ones they have not seen before and all those arguments will likely support their pre-existing viewpoint. This is a very effective way of making people sympathetic and willing to read more.

Comment author: wilkox 06 July 2011 04:19:13AM 4 points [-]

I recently introduced a friend to HPMR and she went on to discover Less Wrong entirely of her own accord. She has explicitly cited it as sparking her interest in things like Bayesian inference, which she would never have considered learning about before.

Comment author: wilkox 27 May 2011 08:42:28AM 1 point [-]

The link "summary" and the link "Here is a little more expanded text" seem to point to the same place, in my browser at least.

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