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Comment author: zero_call 27 March 2011 08:40:57PM *  5 points [-]

It's an interesting idea but I feel very skeptical about the generic plan. Personally, a revulsion for organized/standardized education is what drove me to look at things like Less Wrong in the first place. I think this is fairly common in the community, with many people interested in discussion of akrasia and self-work habits.

Also, considering the informality of ideas like "I want to be a good rationalist", I would expect this sort of thing to be much more open-ended and unstructured anyways. It doesn't seem to fit with the idea of a rigid system or a "boot-camp". It just seems contrary to the idea of rationality and free thinking.

I am also somewhat bemused by the character of the "application", where apparently qualification relates to reading of the sequences and SIAI in-house literature. I mean the level of self-masturbation is quite remarkable, not to be too cynical, but it seems to be setting the bar fairly low when you're treating a subject that has been actively discussed for thousands of years.

On the other hand I'm sure this is well intentioned and you have to start somewhere, so I apologize if my remarks seem overly caustic.

Comment author: zero_call 18 October 2010 02:05:30AM 1 point [-]

I've also read it several times before that physicists and scientists tend to achieve their best results by their mid-thirties. But I don't think the characterization necessarily works for physics/math/etc. like it does for baseball and athletics. There's just a major qualitative difference there -- e.g., athletes are forced to retire fairly young, whereas teachers are very rarely forced to retire until they are really nearing the end of their viable lifespan. Although I do agree that in something like physics, there is also a component of "mental athleticism", which just naturally peaks at a medium or youthful age.

Also, for a lot of subjects like physics or math, you probably won't be able to have a decent mastery of your work until around, say, age 25-35. So the simple fact of the matter is that you will always be past your peak for the majority of your practicing career. It's a bit sad, but again, I think it just shows that the concept of "peaking" may not be really as broadly applicable for academic areas.

Comment author: EStokes 29 September 2010 03:44:21PM *  0 points [-]

I'm still getting weird results on both Chrome and Firefox. Did you try more than once? Could you try again now?

Could someone else provide results?

Comment author: zero_call 29 September 2010 07:03:04PM 0 points [-]

In the 419991 times this simulation has run, players have won $1811922 And by won I mean they have won back $1811922 of the $419991 they spent (431%).

Comment author: zero_call 10 September 2010 04:34:11PM *  3 points [-]

Mating is good. I am somewhat baffled as to why the "PUA" discussion has had a strong negative connotation. As you say, there's a ton of benefits for everyone involved, and it serves as a successful, easy-to-test model for many related skill sets. Personally I think the hesitancy to talk about mating and mating development is likely no more than a sort of vestigial organ of society's ancient associations with religion. It still seems "improper" in ordinary society to talk about how to get into someone's pants. But I see no reason why the sort of thing like "pick-up-artistry" must be unethical or wrong.

Comment author: Morendil 10 September 2010 01:41:16PM 35 points [-]

But how the hell do you "believe in yourself"? That phrase is opaque to me.

I take it to mean something like "The time for a lucid appraisal of your own abilities is prior to action, not in the middle of it. Once you find yourself engaged in real-time application of some skill or other, act as if your mastery of that skill isn't at issue at all, rather than let yourself be distracted by assessments of the likelihood of failure, because they are likely to be self-fulfilling prophecies."

You can see why people prefer the short version.

Comment author: zero_call 10 September 2010 04:22:18PM 1 point [-]

Yes -- I agree strongly with this analysis.

Comment author: Violet 10 September 2010 05:58:27AM 1 point [-]

Maybe consider an another term, PUA as a term can drag many shitstorms and divide community even if you are trying to avoid dark arts.

The whole "happiness limited by shyness/social awkwardness which results in no dates" stereotype does not apply to many people here.

e.g. I consider job interviews much more terrifying than finding new people (which seems mostly limited by the amount of free time).

Comment author: zero_call 10 September 2010 04:15:56PM 2 points [-]

The whole "happiness limited by shyness/social awkwardness which results in no dates" stereotype does not apply to many people here.

How's that?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 01 September 2010 04:34:46PM 7 points [-]

I haven't read Nicholas Carr, but I've seen summaries of some of the studies used to claim that book reading results in more comprehension than hypertext reading. All the ones I saw are bogus. They all use, for the hypertext reading, a linear extract from a book, broken up into sections separated by links. Sometimes the links are placed in somewhat arbitrary places. Of course a linear text can be read more easily linearly.

I believe hypertext reading is deeper, and that this is obvious, almost true by definition. Non-hypertext reading is exactly 1 layer deep. Hypertext lets the reader go deeper. Literally. You can zoom in on any topic.

A more fair test would be to give students a topic to study, with the same material, but some given books, and some given the book material organized and indexed in a competent way as hypertext.

Wide and deep reading, such that you make the information presented yours, gives you more background knowledge that helps you find your own connections.

Hypertext reading lets you find your own connections, and lets you find background knowledge that would otherwise simply be edited out of a book.

Comment author: zero_call 06 September 2010 09:56:52PM 0 points [-]

Hypertext reading has a strong potential, but it also has negative aspects that you don't have as much with standard books. For example, it's much easier to get distracted or side-tracked with a lot of secondary information that might not even be very important.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 02 September 2010 09:28:09PM *  10 points [-]

It seems to me like "books are slower to produce than online material, so they're higher quality" would belong to the class of statements that are true on average but close to meaningless in practice. There's enormous variance in the quality of both digital and printed texts, and whether you absorb more good or bad material depends more on which digital/print sources you seek out than on whether you prefer digital or print sources overall.

Comment author: zero_call 06 September 2010 09:50:44PM 0 points [-]

It's not that books take longer to produce, it's that books just tend to have higher quality, and a corollary of that is that they frequently take longer to produce. Personally I feel fairly certain that the average quality of my online reading is substantially lower than offline reading.

In response to Something's Wrong
Comment author: AlexMennen 05 September 2010 07:20:33PM 11 points [-]

I dispute the inclusion of anger at government policies as useful criticism. Any problem in government can only be suboptimal relative to a different set of policies, and as such, criticism of government should come with an argument that a solution is possible. For example, many voters oppose deficits, oppose tax increases, and say that they favor spending cuts, but will tend to oppose the overwhelming majority of possible cuts when individual expensive government programs are named. Criticism without suggestion from someone who would criticize any possible solution is useless.

Comment author: zero_call 05 September 2010 08:52:54PM 3 points [-]

Any problem in government can only be suboptimal relative to a different set of policies, and as such, criticism of government should come with an argument that a solution is possible.

I think most criticism is based on the implicit understanding that a solution is possible. Otherwise you are basically hiding behind a shield of nihilism or political anarchy or something. It seems overly restrictive to say that any criticism without an auxiliary solution is worthless. Just because you see a problem doesn't mean you are able to see a solution. I guess it's a bit like asking all voters to also be politicians.

In response to Something's Wrong
Comment author: zero_call 05 September 2010 08:43:00PM *  2 points [-]

I think you've touched on something really important when you mention how it is easier to be a strong critic than to have a real, working solution. This is a common retort against strong criticism -- "Oh, but you don't how to make it any better" -- and it seems to be something of a logical fallacy.

There is a certain sense of energy and inspiration behind good criticism which I've always been fond of. This is important, because criticism seems to be almost always non-conformist or pessimistic in a certain sense, so I think you kind of need encouragement to remind yourself that criticism is generally originating from good intentions.

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